Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been setting the world to rights, declaring that Vladimir Putin should be “running Europe”, Donald Trump would make a “fantastic” U.S. president, immigration has brought no benefits to the UK and admitting he is “100 per cent an outer” in the upcoming referendum.
The candid comments from 85-year-old Mr. Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group, came during a staged conversation with WPP Chief Executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, held in front of a few hundred advertising executives at Advertising Week Europe in London.
Having declared that “Europe has become less important, full stop,” he responded to Sir Martin’s question regarding his admiration for Vladimir Putin saying: “He should be running Europe.”
Sir Martin asked whether that meant Mr. Putin should be governing from Brussels, Mr. Ecclestone replied:
“No, we should get rid of Brussels and he should just be in charge.”
Explaining his admiration for the Russian leader, Mr. Ecclestone said: “He does what he says he’s gonna do, he gets the job done.”
Mr. Putin is not the only political strongman admired by Mr. Ecclestone, he also sees a kindred spirit in Donald Trump and rated him as a future U.S. president, saying:
“I think he’d be fantastic. I’m sure he’s much more flexible than most of them. If he’s made a mistake, he’s more likely to say: ‘It was a good idea at the time.’”
The event was meant to have been a discussion of the upcoming European Union referendum, reports The Guardian, and it is fair to say billionaire Mr. Ecclestone is not a fan of that politico-trading bloc. In fact he said he could not see any economic benefits from membership.
By way of contrast, Sir Martin — who sits as a non-executive director on the board of Formula One — said he is in favour of Britain remaining in the EU and “violently” disagreed with many of Mr. Ecclestone’s stated positions.