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Ecclestone 'sorry' for praising Hitler, says views misconstrued

FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has apologized for praising Adolf Hitler's ability to "get things done", comments which prompted a German Jewish group to call for a boycott.

Ecclestone, 78, made the comments in an interview published in the Times newspaper last Saturday.

"I have no complaints about the quote - it is what I said - but it was not what I meant to say," Ecclestone wrote in the Times yesterday, an article he opened with the words "First, an apology."

"Those who don't know me think I support Hitler's atrocities; those who do know me have told me how unwise I was to articulate my points so badly that it should have been so widely misunderstood," he said.

In the article Ecclestone revisited his remarks about Hitler in an attempt to clarify what he was trying to say.

"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."

Germany's Central Council of Jews has urged motor racing teams to boycott Formula One. "No team should work with him any more - a boycott would be more than appropriate," its Vice President Dieter Graumann said.

Meanwhile, former world rally champion Ari Vatanen is considering standing against Max Mosley if the Briton seeks re-election as president of motorsport's world governing body.

"At the moment I am consulting the member clubs and am already seeing positive feedback," the 57-year-old Finn said from France on Monday.

Mosley, 69, said last month that he would not seek a fifth four-year term of office in October as part of a deal with Formula One teams calling for a reform of the sport's governance and threatening a breakaway series.

He has since accused the teams of "dancing on his grave" and suggested that he was under pressure from members of the Paris-based International Automobile Federation to stay on.


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