It's no secret that former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has a well-documented affinity for despots, successfully taking money from some of the world's most nefarious rulers in exchange for F1 races. His favorite of them all, however, is Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin. So great is Ecclestone's fondness for the former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) director that he declared that he'd be glad to take multiple bullets for Putin.
"If someone had a machine gun and was prepared to shoot Putin, I would stand in front of him, because he's a good guy," Ecclestone told The Times. "He's never done anything that isn't doing good things for people."
Ecclestone's memory seemingly doesn't encompass Putin's lengthy history of unsavory politics, which includes but isn't limited to the suppression of the press. Even if Ecclestone acknowledged Putin's ugly past, it wouldn't change the displaced F1 bigwig's opinion of the Russian politician; he'd still want Putin reigning over Europe with an iron fist and Russia on the F1 calendar.
"I would like him running Europe. We haven't got anybody, so it couldn't be any worse. He does what he says he is going to do," said Ecclestone, who believes that democracy doesn't belong in racing nor governance.
"I am not a supporter of democracy," added the former F1 ruler. "You need a dictator. As a dictator, you say, 'this is what I'm going to do.' In a democracy, it gets watered down."
These comments are just the latest in a string of borderline senile quips by Ecclestone, who has publicly compared women to home appliances and praised Adolf Hitler. One could assume he's just looking for attention after being forced into involuntary retirement, but these lines have been spewing for decades. His numerous controversial ideas for improving F1—such as creating artificial wet races with sprinklers—have led many to question his mental health and suitability to run F1.
Luckily, and for better or for worse, Liberty Media is in charge now.
h/t ESPN India