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GP Week : Issue 53
Short Straights Ecclestone comments cause n Bridgestone has announced that it will drop its compound gap scheme for the forthcoming F1 races in Hungary, Valencia, Belgium and Italy. The tyres compounds use will be only one step apart rather than the two at present for these races. n Hockenheim may yet get a reprieve to host a Formula 1 race in the future. After the local government announced it could no longer afford to host the race, Bernie Ecclestone is reportedly considering stepping in to try and find a solution. Bulgaria has also entered the race to host a Grand Prix, although many pundits believe this may be a scare tactic to aid renegotiation for the future of the Hungarian Grand Prix. n Brendon Hartley has stepped back from his role as Red Bull’s third driver, with fellow Red Bull youngster Jaime Alguersuari taking his role for the remainder of the season. The move has prompted debate over the future of Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso… again. n Lewis Hamilton will have to wait to live out his dream of driving one of his hero Ayrton Senna’s racing cars. The reigning World Champion was due to drive Senna’s McLaren MP4-4 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but a broken gearbox picked up earlier in the weekend curtailed Hamilton’s dreams for this year at least. BERNIE Eccelstone has been thrust into controversy following comments he made to British newspaper The Times in which he appeared to praise the dictatorial style of Adolf Hitler because he was “able to get things done.” Ecclestone’s remarks came in an interview, largely on the subject of politics, in which he claimed that FIA President Max Mosley would make a good politician. “I prefer strong leaders,”he said. “If you have a look at a democracy it hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one (the UK). I like people who make up their minds. If you have to keep referring to your grandmother before you do anything I think that’s dumb. I make decisions, sometimes wrong, sometimes right — so long as you get more things right than wrong then that’s OK.” When quizzed over which leader from history stood out for him, he replied, “In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people able to get things done.” “In the end he got lost so he wasn’t a very good dictator. Either he knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it — either way he wasn’t a dictator.” Ecclestone’s comments, and the inference that he believes Adolf Hitler to have been innocently led towards his anti-Semitic policies, have sparked a new row for Formula 1 and its powerbrokers after one of the most politically turbulent months in recent memory. There are now calls for Ecclestone to stand down from his position of power in Formula 1 from politicians, Jewish groups and sporting commentators alike. Ecclestone is no stranger to making controversial statements, famously saying in 2005 that women should be “dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.” Following last year’s alleged Nazi- themed sex scandal surrounding FIA President Max Mosley, however, the topic of Ecclestone’s comments is a risky one, and has done little to discourage his critics from calling for a new hierarchy at the head of the sport.