Bernie Ecclestone has done a lot of good things for Formula 1 throughout his career.
But in the last several years, he hasn’t done himself many favors by talking about things not related to the business of the sport.
His latest gems have come courtesy of a conversation with WPP chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, at the Advertising Week Europe in London.
On Vladimir Putin? “He should be running Europe,” said Ecclestone, via The Guardian.
On a potential Donald Trump presidency? “I think he’d be fantastic.”
And lastly, his continued thoughts about women driving in F1: “I don’t know whether a woman would physically be able to drive an F1 car quickly, and they wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
He did say he thinks we could see more women executives in the future, calling them “more competent” and also without “massive egos.”
Here’s the problem, though: we know by now that when Ecclestone talks about matters such as these, it doesn’t end well.
One of Ecclestone’s more infamous quotes came when Danica Patrick first rose to national prominence following the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and Ecclestone said, “You know, I’ve got one of these wonderful ideas that women should all be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.”
Now, when he says such controversial and off-the-wall type things, there becomes a lot of blowback on social media, a lot of “why are you talking?” and “why are you saying these things in 2016?” type comments.
Ecclestone is entitled to his opinions, of course.
But when they enter the sphere in this regard, they open himself – and by nature, the sport of which he’s made a worldwide phenomenon in F1 – up to critiques and concerns that the guy who’s at the top of the heap is saying such controversial type things so openly.
F1’s got enough to deal with when Ecclestone isn’t going off like this.
Sometimes, silence is golden.