Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has had a change of heart and has felt compelled to apologize for a series of controversial comments he made in support of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Ecclestone appeared recently on ITV's Good Morning Britain, where the 91-year-old was asked about his opinion on Putin and Russia's actions in Ukraine, bearing in mind that the Briton is well acquainted with the Russian president ever since the country staged its first F1 race back in 2014.
Ecclestone said that he would "take a bullet" for Putin if necessary, calling the Russian leader "a good guy", comments that the Mr E reiterated a few days later in an interview with Piers Morgan.
In the wake of the comments, Ecclestone was hit with a wave of criticism, including from the Formula One Group, with the company making clear that the comments from the sport's former boss were "in stark contrast to modern values".
In an interview with Sky Sports released ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, Ecclestone clarified but apologised for his words.
Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said sorry for the controversial opinions he expressed on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/gKeQQ2GIvB
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 9, 2022
"Probably good for me to get some things off my chest as well, some things that have been bothering me about what I said and about what people think I said," Ecclestone said in the clip released by Sky.
"So I think often people come out and say things or do things, without really too much thinking.
"Probably I did the same, I could understand people thinking I’m defending what he’s done in Ukraine, which I don’t.
"I was brought up during the last war so I know what it’s like," he added.
"I feel sorry for the people in Ukraine having suffer for something they haven’t done."
A remorseful Ecclestone hoped that Russia and Ukraine can eventually "get together and get an agreement", adding in conclusion that he was "sorry if anything I’ve said has upset anybody because it certainly wasn’t intended".