Formula One (F1) boss Bernie Ecclestone has strongly advocated his support for an Out vote, and has said that Russian president Vladimir Putin should be "running Europe".
“Europe has become less important full stop,” said Ecclestone, speaking at a conversation with WPP boss Martin Sorrell at Advertising Week Europe. “Vladimir Putin should be running Europe. He gets the job done.”
Ecclestone remarked that, although he “probably won’t vote,” he would want the UK to come out as soon as it could. He described himself as “100 per cent an outer”.
When asked about what Europe brings to the UK, Ecclestone said: “I don’t see any economic benefit.” Sorrell questioned him over whether immigrants make a contribution to the UK, to which the F1 boss replied: “they have not”.
Sorrell, whose grandparents were Russian immigrants, disagreed. The WPP chief said that his firm “would lose influence in four of our top ten markets” in the event of a vote to leave.
“I know clients will close plants, jobs will go. The question is how long that will go on for,” said Sorrell, who has previously described the looming referendum as “uncertainty-stimulating”.
Ecclestone also offered his opinions on Trump and the role of women in F1.
On the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president, he said: “I think he’d be fantastic. I’m sure he’s much more flexible than most [of the other candidates]. If he’s made a mistake, he’s more likely to say: ‘It was a good idea at the time’.”
Ecclestone said that he thought Trump and Putin would get on well if the property tycoon was elected, and that if Trump had his finger on the button: “Putin would tell him what to do”.
Asked about whether women should have a greater role in F1, Ecclestone said: “I don’t know whether a woman would physically be able to drive an F1 car quickly, and they wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
However, he said that he does envisage an increasing number women chief executives in the future. “Women are more competent, and they don’t have massive egos."