Bernie Ecclestone says F1 “absolutely” has a clear conscience racing in Azerbaijan despite pressure from human rights groups.
The Grand Prix of Europe takes place in Baku this weekend, marking the first race in Azerbaijan. F1 has faced calls from human rights groups – including Amnesty International this week – to denounce alleged human rights abuses, but when asked if the sport has a clear conscience racing in Azerbaijan, Ecclestone replied: “Absolutely. 100%.
“The minute people tell me what human rights are, you can look at how, why and when it applies. Does anyone know what human rights are?”
Activists met with Formula One Management (FOM) in London earlier this month, but Ecclestone added: “It is nothing I know about…
“We listen obviously and if people have got genuine complaints there is not a lot we can do because in all fairness. I don’t know, freedom of speech and things like that – I think you get into trouble in most countries if you are anti some government or political people. Or in fact anybody. So it is not quite as easy as that.”
Asked if the teams had commented at all, Ecclestone replied: “No.
“I think probably like me they would like to know what human rights are. A lot of people are starving in the world and they have something to complain about.”
And Ecclestone is pleased with how the track is looking ahead of the first race in Baku, with the spectacular street circuit taking in sections around the old town.
“I didn’t walk it but went around it – when I laid it out in the first place I was told I was mad. Trying to get the old city and the new city together, but it looks like it has worked out alright.
“We just left the greatest place in the world North America – and compared to here, it is a bit of a shit hole isn’t it?”
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