Bernie Ecclestone, the man who controls Formula One auto racing, said Friday that he preferred totalitarian regimes to democracies and praised Adolf Hitler for his ability to "get things done."
In an outspoken interview with The Times of London, the 78-year-old British billionaire chastised contemporary politicians for their weaknesses and extolled the virtues of strong leadership.
Ecclestone said: "In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done.
"In the end he got lost, so he wasn't a very good dictator because either he had all these things and knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it ... so either way he wasn't a dictator." He also criticized democracy, claiming that "it hasn't done a lot of good for many countries — including this one [Britain]."
Instead, Ecclestone endorsed the concept of a government based on tyranny.
"Politicians are too worried about elections," he said. "We did a terrible thing when we supported the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He was the only one who could control that country.
"It was the same [with the Taliban in Afghanistan]. We move into countries and we have no idea of the culture. The Americans probably thought Bosnia was a town in Miami. There are people starving in Africa and we sit back and do nothing but we get involved in things we should leave alone."
[Max Mosley, a close friend of Ecclestone and president of the Paris-based world racing body the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, is the son of pre-World War II British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.
Last year, Mosley won a libel suit against the London tabloid News of the World after it published photos of what it said was a "Nazi sex orgy" involving him and five prostitutes.]