Nov.8 (GMM) Amid the latest racist scandal, Bernie Ecclestone has found an ally in the form of formula one veteran David Coulthard.
Ecclestone, F1's 78-year-old chief executive, found himself condemned by bureaucrats and the press this week, after he played down this year's racist incidents involving Lewis Hamilton."Bernie's remarks have been taken out of context. It is trying to be built into something much bigger than it is," said Coulthard, at a press conference for the forthcoming Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium.Coulthard, who contested his last of 247 career grands prix in Brazil last Sunday, agrees with Ecclestone that the episode involving 'blacked up' Fernando Alonso fans at a Barcelona test this year was overblown."What happened in Spain because of those four guys, I'm sorry, but it hardly represents a nation of racists," said the 37-year-old Scot."I've seen some people having a pop at Bernie for trying to play it down, but what would you expect him to do? He is the ringmaster, the guy that has created this amazing foundation of business success that enables all of us to earn our pennies."To turn around and try to get Bernie to offer an apology to Lewis is just ridiculous," Coulthard added.He insists that, in comparison with football, F1 cannot be referred to as a racist sport."How many footballers have been subjected to racial taunts and had bananas thrown at them? It wasn't acceptable then and it's not acceptable now, but what you're talking about in formula one is not on that level," said Coulthard.Billionaire Ecclestone, meanwhile, revealed he has clarified his comments with Hamilton's father and manager."I've spoken with Lewis' dad and he understands, everything's fine," Bernie said.