Bernie Ecclestone is the billionaire CEO of Formula One. He’s a British guy, he’s 85 years old, and I know him primarily from his spoiled daughters, Tamara and Petra, who love to get papped and spend their dad’s money on flashy luxury goods and enormous estates. Petra bought Candy Spelling’s mansion while Tamara has equally ridiculous real estate holdings.
Recently Ecclestone addressed the issue of female race car drivers. He doesn’t think they have the strength to control the cars and he doesn’t think they would be taken seriously anyway. In Ecclestone’s estimation women make good heads of companies though because they don’t have big egos. Oh and he’s voting for Trump. Here’s some of The Daily Beast’s report on this:
[Danica] Patrick has often claimed that the power of the car is more important than the outright strength of the driver. “No matter how good you are, how brave you are or anything, it comes down to that car so many times,” she said. “Not every time, but so many times.”
Ecclestone is in no mood to put that to the test in the sport that he runs. He cast doubt over their physical ability and appeared to suggest that none of the teams would be willing to give women the chance to prove him wrong.
“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 said Tuesday.
Away from the pressures of professional sport, he said he thought women would be able to crack the glass ceiling. Particularly as chief executives in business: “Women are more competent, and they don’t have massive egos,” he said.
One woman who proved an equal match for Eccelstone was his second wife, Slavica Malic, who is exactly a foot taller than him. When they separated, she secured a divorce settlement of more than $1 billion.
Alice Powell, a 23-year-old British racing driver, has previously criticized Ecclestone’s attitude to women drivers. “Someone needs to prove Bernie wrong.”
In previous decades, drivers like Michele Mouton, who came close to winning the 1982 World Rally Championship, and Shirley Muldowney, who won three drag-racing titles in the 1970s and ’80s, have proved that women can compete given the opportunity.
Ecclestone’s judgment has been called into question in the past, and some of his other remarks today raised further eyebrows. He was asked about the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president. “I think he’d be fantastic,” he said. “Putin would tell him what to do.”
This guy is older than dirt and he has attitudes to match. As The Daily Beast points out, the reigning champion in Formula One racing (not to be confused with Nascar, that’s more US-centric*) is Lewis Hamilton, 31, and he’s 5’9″ and is all of 150 pounds. Hamilton, incidentally, recently called out Formula One execs. He said that sport “is money and power” and that the people making the decisions are the ones “Who are sitting in their chair, striking a pen, paying checks, making money.” He added that he wasn’t “Saying that it’s wrong,” but it’s “Just like a corporate business — money is the power, money is the ruler. The people who own the sport make the decisions.” It’s too bad that those people are so out of touch.
Here’s Nascar and Indy racer Danica Patrick doing bodyweight exercises. She looks pretty strong to me.
*Formula One is different than Nascar in that it’s more European-centric and they race in -edit- circuits and occasionally closed off city streets. (Thanks D and Elisa!) This may be basic and non-informative for some of you, but I’m not very familiar with racing.