Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone has apologised for remarks he made in an interview with The Times this weekend praising Hitler.
On Saturday, the billionaire criticised the current political process and spoke of the Nazi dictator’s ability to “get things done”.
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The comment prompted Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard to describe Ecclestone as “either an idiot or morally repulsive”.
In a statement issued yesterday, Ecclestone said: “I unreservedly apologise for the remarks I made regarding Hitler in a recent interview.
“I am extremely distressed and embarrassed that these remarks have been used as suggesting that I support Hitler or Saddam Hussein. I would never support such people.
“I should never have been so foolish as to have been drawn into discussing these people but the fault was entirely mine, which I deeply regret.
“I hope and trust that my apology will be accepted in good faith.”
He told the Jewish Chronicle he regretted offending people who took his remarks “the wrong way”.
In a further article in The Times, Ecclestone attempted to explain his comments.
He said: “During the 1930s Germany was facing an economic crisis, but Hitler was able to rebuild the economy, building the autobahns and German industry.
“That was all I meant when I referred to him getting things done.
“I’m an admirer of good leadership, of politicians who stand by their convictions and tell the voters the truth.
“I’m not an admirer of dictators who rule by terror.”
Ecclestone also used his Times newspaper interview at the weekend to say he believed FIA chairman Max Mosley would make a good prime minister.
Mosley received a £60,000 privacy payout from the Sunday tabloid after it published a front-page splash and a video of his “sick orgy” with five women. He is now suing the paper for libel.