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Help Wanted: Black, Jewish and Female Formula One Racer

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone’s been getting a lot of attention in the press for his recent comments praising Hitler for being an effective dictator who “got things done.” Besides being criticized by Jewish groups, the latest fallout for Eccelstone is a German politician’s canceling a meeting because of Ecclestone’s politically unacceptable views.

But this isn’t the first time Ecclestone’s gotten himself in hot water for speaking his politically incorrect mind. Just a couple months ago, he made the British papers when he told a room full of sports journalists, “If I had a choice I think that formula one needs a black, Jewish woman who, if possible, wins some races too.”

And he has a point, but more on that later.

Ecclestone also told reporters, in 2005, in reference to American IndyCar racer Danica Patrick, that “women should be dressed in white, like all the other domestic appliances.” Nice.

If you haven’t heard of Ecclestone yet, or Formula One racing for that matter, it’s probably because the sport is not that popular over here, where Nascar rules. But whereas (to be politically incorrect because I’m in good company here), Nascar is generally considered a pastime of the poor, rural, Caucasian persuasion, Formula One is “the highest class of auto racing” and “the world’s most expensive sport,” according to Wikipedia. And it’s not just Wikipedia that thinks so. A wealthy European roommate of mine once bragged that unlike Nascar, Formula One is “real” car racing, though About.com disagrees with that estimation.

Either way, Formula One or NASCAR, car racing hasn’t typically been a Jewish sport. Perhaps making politically incorrect statements about Hitler and Jewish women is just a publicity stunt on Ecclestone’s part to get Jews to pay attention to his industry. He is, after all, the commercial brains behind the industry. And his most recent comments responding to the World Jewish Congress’s call on him to resign, indicate that he doesn’t consider Jews to be big supporters of Formula One but does consider them to have influence that, just perhaps, Ecclestone himself would like to get his hands on:

But Ecclestone said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that “I think the people who are saying that [I should resign] haven’t got the power to say these things.” If the WJC is influential, he said, “it’s a pity they didn’t sort the banks out.” Asked to elaborate, Ecclestone said, “They have a lot of influence everywhere.”

That’s what we Americans call digging yourself into an even deeper hole. But Ecclestone, who’s 78, incredibly wealthy, and would “prefer Formula One to be surrounded by controversy all the time,” seems to be enjoying his hole very much.

Which is why it would be great if a black, Jewish woman were to become a winning Formula One driver. That would show Ecclestone! And it certainly would draw more attention — especially among certain communities — to the sport. Especially if she were to dress all in white and name her vehicle after a domestic appliance.


Rebecca Honig Friedman writes about Jewish women’s issues on the Jewess blog at Jewess.Canonist and is a producer for The Jewish Channel.

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