Women drivers are not physically able to drive quickly enough in Formula One, the sport’s supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggested at a conference in London on Tuesday.
“I don’t know whether a woman would physically be able to drive an F1 car quickly and they wouldn’t be taken seriously,” the 85-year-old told an audience at Advertising Week Europe.
But he predicted a rise in female chief executives, saying: “Women are more competent and they don’t have massive egos.”
There are currently no female drivers in Formula One, with test driver Susie Wolff, who retired last November, the last woman to be employed in a driving capacity by an F1 team.
But women have enjoyed greater success at boardroom level, with Claire Williams notably the current deputy team principal at Williams.
In a wideranging interview with F1’s non-executive director Martin Sorrell, the outspoken Ecclestone also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “should be running Europe”.
Sorrell then asked: “He should be in Brussels running Europe?”
“No, we should get rid of Brussels and he should just be in charge,” Ecclestone said. “He does what he says he’s gonna do, he gets the job done. I mean people don’t understand exactly what he wants to do … He wants to put Russia back to what it was.”
Ecclestone argued Putin and US presidential candidate Donald Trump would work well together. “I think (Trump) would be fantastic (as president),” Ecclestone said. “I’m sure he’s much more flexible than most of them. If he’s made a mistake, he’s more likely to say: ‘It was a good idea at the time.'”
He said that comments he had made in praise of Adolf Hitler’s leadership methods in a 2009 interview were taken out of context, but reiterated that the Nazi leader “got the job done”.
He also declared that he was “100 per cent” in favour of Britain leaving the European Union ahead of the June 23 referendum on the matter and said that immigrants had not made a contribution to British life.