Ex-Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has revealed his reasons for turning down a knighthood back in the 1990s.

Ecclestone enjoyed a career in F1 spanning seven decades, spending 40 years as its commercial chief prior to the sport’s takeover by Liberty Media in 2017, when he was replaced as CEO and chairman by Chase Carey.

Ecclestone still attends a handful of grands prix each year, most recently appearing in both Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Speaking in F1’s latest Beyond the Grid podcast, Ecclestone was asked if he ever felt deserving of a knighthood for his services to the sport and job creation in the United Kingdom.

But Ecclestone said: “I don’t particularly agree with these things. I think 20-odd years ago, I was given the opportunity, and decided not to.”

Ecclestone is reported by The Guardian to have turned down a CBE in 1996.

Asked to expand on his reasons for turning down a knighthood, Ecclestone said: “Really because I don’t think doing things that I’ve done deserve any acknowledgement from anyone.

“All the things I’ve done, I didn’t set off to do something good for the country.

“If, by chance, it happened, I did do something good for the country, good. But it wasn’t my intention.”

The latest F1 figure to receive a knighthood was Williams co-founder and technical chief Patrick Head, who became a Sir in 2015.

Lewis Hamilton has recently received widespread support to receive a knighthood for his services to F1 and British sport after securing his sixth world title in 2019.

Ecclestone said there’s “no reason why [Hamilton] shouldn’t be” knighted.

“He’s done a great job for England, for sure,” Ecclestone said.

“On the other hand, like myself, he never set out to do something good for England. He set out to do something good for what he wanted to do.

“But there are people on lots of occasions where people do try to do things for the country, and don’t benefit from it financially. They benefit perhaps that they have done something good.”

Ecclestone is widely credited with helping make F1 the global sport it is today, but the 90-year-old knocked back a question on the legacy he will leave.

“I don’t have one. I will disappear and be forgotten within a few months like most people,” Ecclestone said.

“Nobody remembers. The world moves on. New people, new things happen. The world is moving so quick now to what it used to, maybe 20 years ago even.

“It’s easy for people to march on for new things, new ideas.”



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