Ecclestone still plans to attend German GP

UPDATE Bernie Ecclestone has found himself in even hotter water today after comments he allegedly made to reporters. According to the Daily Mail, the FOM Chairman reacted angrily to being informed that the World Jewish Congress had called for his resignation.

‘It’s a pity they didn’t sort the banks out,’ he is quoted as saying by the Mail.

‘They have a lot of influence everywhere,’ he added.

The sinister nature of Ecclestone’s reported comments – which come days after a furor over his Hitler remarks – will not go down well with German companies ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. A number of high-ranking German officials have called for Ecclestone not to attend the event because of his words in recent days.

The row surrounding Ecclestone does not bode well for the future of the sport either. The existing management – Ecclestone and FIA President Max Mosley – was already seen to be anachronistic. But teams with squeaky-clean brand images cannot afford to be associated with a condonement of Adolf Hitler, especially if – like BMW and Mercedes – they are German. Rumors that are probably unfounded have linked the German teams to a boycott of the grand prix on Sunday in protest at Ecclestone.

But a spokesman for Germany’s Central Council of Jews called for teams to abstain from working with Ecclestone nonetheless.

‘No team should work with him any more – a boycott would be more than appropriate.’


Bernie Ecclestone

(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone insists he will attend this weekend's German grand prix at the Nurburgring.

The F1 chief executive is embroiled in a scandal regarding his comments in a media interview about Hitler, which has already led to the cancellation of a meeting on Sunday with a German state premier.

It also emerged that Ecclestone, 78, has called off his attendance at an opening ceremony for improvements at the venue, sparking suggestions he may skip the race weekend altogether.

But asked by Bild newspaper if he plans to attend the grand prix, the Briton answered: "Of course. I go to all the races."

Some observers have questioned the relevance of Ecclestone's political musings to his role at the head of F1's commercial rights.

But Zak Brown, chief executive of the agency JM which represents many formula one sponsors, said Ecclestone's apology in the wake of the saga "was needed".

So close after other negative-publicity scandals, he said the industry needs to "clean itself up".

"Bernie often says things with shock value. It has definitely made the news in the US," he added.

It emerges that Ecclestone has hired the public relations firm Finsbury Ltd in the wake of his comments.

CVC, the private equity firm that owns F1 and also invests on behalf of Jewish funds, said it was "shocked" by the affair.

"We fully concur with the unreserved apology that was made by Mr. Ecclestone yesterday," said a spokesman.

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