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Motor Racing

Bernie Ecclestone's 'regret' over Hitler remarks

Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone said he regretted the upset caused by his praise of Adolf Hitler's leadership.

During a weekend newspaper interview in which he criticised the current political process, the billionaire spoke of the Nazi dictator's ability to "get things done" and said Hitler had "got taken away and persuaded to do things".

But speaking to the Associated Press agency, Mr Ecclestone said "things were taken a little bit wrong".

He said: "(Hitler) brought a country that was bankrupt into a country that was very strong and that was really demonstrating what someone could do if they had the power and didn't have to keep back and referring every five minutes.

"The trouble with politicians and democracy is they all the time have to compromise, they can't do what they want to do because there is somebody in opposition. It certainly takes a lot longer to do something.

"I regret that it didn't come out like that, upsetting people is the last thing I wanted to do, obviously."

Mr Ecclestone, 78, said he was being positive only about Hitler's leadership of Nazi Germany between 1932 and 1938, adding: "After that the guy was obviously a lunatic.

"It's probably my fault in that I got dragged into something I wasn't supposed to discuss - we got out of F1 into something else."

Hitler presided over the Nazi genocide of six million Jews during the Second World War.

In The Times newspaper interview on Saturday, the Formula One boss also said Max Mosley, president of the motor racing body FIA and son of British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley, would make a good prime minister.

Mr Ecclestone's comments attracted widespread criticism, with Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, saying he was "either an idiot or morally repulsive".

The World Jewish Congress also said that he should resign.

But Mr Ecclestone was dismissive of the call, telling AP: "I think the people who are saying that (I should resign) haven't got the power to say these things."