Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he was not happy Bahrain organisers used the acronym ‘F1’ in its political slogan for last weekend’s race.
The F1 chief executive was highly supportive of the island Kingdom’s intensely controversial return to the sport’s calendar, insisting Bahrain will retain its grand prix “forever”. But when asked about the banners around the Sakhir circuit and the island Kingdom that read ‘UniF1ed’, 81-year-old Ecclestone admitted to the Mirror: “We never put it there.
“We told them to take it down, not to use it. I saw other things, not like that.”
But Sakhir circuit chief Zayed Alzayani wore a cap bearing the slogan throughout the grand prix weekend, even when in Ecclestone’s company.
Briton Ecclestone, however, denied the Bahrain slogan only intensified the opposition’s anger.
“Before they started using that slogan there was trouble about F1,” he insisted. “People make excuses but there are only two sports where politics come into it; us and the Olympics because the profile is big enough.
“There was a big golf match in Bahrain before F1 arrived and there was no problems there. We are not here to tell people how to run their country.”
Ecclestone, however, was angry with some of F1’s British journalists in Bahrain, following their harsh criticism of the decision to push ahead with the race.
“I saw Bernie get angry in the press room with some British journalists,” revealed O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper correspondent Livio Oricchio. “I had never seen him that angry.”