Ecclestone also suggested Lewis Hamilton could get out of his Mercedes contract if he wanted to walk away from the sport.
Bernie Ecclestone has claimed Lewis Hamilton is no longer the fighter he once was and has made too many mistakes in his drive to a record-breaking eighth world championship.
In an interview with the PA news agency ahead of the weekend British Grand Prix, F1s former supremo said Hamilton could not yet walk away from his new two-year £ 80million Mercedes contract, praised the Briton for standing up to racism and targeting his successors for “messing with history” ahead of the sport’s first sprint race at Silverstone.
Hamilton enters his home event on a winning streak in five races, leaving him 32 points from Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.
The seven-time world champion drove excellently to win three of the first four rounds, but he fell off the road at a rain-stricken Imola in April, throwing an unlikely victory in last month’s Grand Prix in Azerbaijan as he fluffed his lines at restart.
He finished fourth on his last excursion in Austria after damaging his Mercedes.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people about this, and maybe Lewis is not quite the warrior he was,” Ecclestone said.
“There are many occasions this year where he could have done better and he has not. He has not had any competition, the equipment has always been super and he has not really had to make an effort. But now maybe he thinks he should rather take it a little easier.
“At the beginning of the year, I thought he would look to win the championship and then retire. But it does not look like I would not rely too much on contracts. He can escape from it.
“He probably looked at clothing and music, but realized that making money there is not as easy as in Formula 1.”
Last year, Hamilton branded Ecclestone as “uneducated and ignorant” after the 90-year-old said in a CNN interview that “in many cases, black people are more racist than white people”.
Are they still talking? “On and off,” Ecclestone replies. The last apartment? “Around the time of his support for Black Lives Matter,” he continues.
“Lewis thought I was against it, but he was wrong because I know what he’s trying to do.
“He called me because I was talking to his father, Anthony. I said the problem for Lewis is that he’s gone out of his way to wave the flag for Black Lives Matter and that people are making an incredible amount of money out of this. , and not him.
“As soon as the passion is gone, he will be back with it being his fault. And all he has ever done is try to do something to support it.”
Hamilton and the majority of the net continue to take a knee before the races to highlight the fight against racism.
Ecclestone continued: “It’s the same with football, where these things have become the fashionable thing to do to make it look like you’re interested in doing something. But I wonder what people are actually doing other than from talking about it?
“Lewis has done more than most for this. I don’t know what footballers have actually done other than support each other.”
Hamilton, who remains the only black driver in F1, commissioned a 10-month study to improve the diversity of motorsport. The report, published this week, highlighted broader societal issues and barriers in motorsport.
Only one percent of F1 employees come from black backgrounds. On Wednesday, F1 executives announced a scholarship, apprenticeships and internships for under-represented groups.
“I told Lewis that it would be good to do something together to give a lot more races the opportunity in Formula 1 rather than it being basically white and English,” Ecclestone added.
“Lewis has done a lot, but now it has to go beyond that, and everyone else has to think about doing something, because I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people from other nations who have drivers, mechanics and engineers alike. competent today as white people.
“If Ron Dennis had not gotten hold of Lewis when he was a child and believed in Lewis and supported him all the time, Lewis would not have achieved it.
“Lewis’s father believed in him and stood completely behind him, so we need to find families where the parents are well behind the children and are prepared to bring victims so the children get a chance.”
On the right track, Hamilton participates in F1’s virgin Sprint race on Saturday in the biggest change to the sports plan of the modern era.
A third distance of a normal race, the final order determines the net for Sunday’s Grand Prix, while the top three score points that count towards the championship. The winner of the Sprint is credited with a pole position on their record.
But Ecclestone, who managed Formula 1 for four decades before Liberty Media’s acquisition of the sport in 2017, said: “I do not agree with that. The moment you start fucking around with these things, the story disappears and that’s not a good thing. .
“People will say that someone has 70 pole positions, but it’s gone now. There is no such thing as a pole position.
“I don’t think it’s going to work and I do not think it’s going to continue. It’s an unnecessary confusion for no reason. Qualifying has always been an interesting part of the weekend and now we just want another race.”