There's a fair chance that Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says silly stuff which he wants repeated through the echo chamber of the internet so that his sport makes headlines, any headlines, because any publicity is good publicity. The sport needs hype like its cars' 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines need fuel and air.
There's also some chance -- and this is a much scarier thought -- that he means the things he says, like his pronouncement overnight that women would make lousy Formula One drivers because they would "not physically be able to drive a F1 car quickly".
Bernie believes women would not be "taken seriously" in the sport, which is ironic because few people take Ecclestone seriously these days either.
Ecclestone is an eccentric octogenarian billionaire. He is CEO of the Formula One Group, the body which manages Formula One. Said sport's attendances and TV ratings have been plummeting since 2008.
For the record, three women have started in Formula One. None enjoyed any success and the most recent, Italian Giovanna Amati, raced in 1992. But that speaks more to a lack of opportunity than ability or strength.
Here's what British racing driver Pippa Mann thought of it all.
Over in America, Danica Patrick has won in the cut-throat IndyCar Series, a class of racing which is similar to F1 with its open-wheeled car design. Patrick was named Most Popular Driver six years running. That stat alone makes you think Ecclestone is misreading his dwindling fan base.
Or who knows, maybe he was cleverly casting for female talent
I'm going to learn to drive and become a top F1 racer just piss of Bernie Eccleston.— Luce Cannon (@crapolatombola) April 19, 2016
Nah, he's not that clever. Evidence that he's not that clever came with the other stuff Ecclestone said overnight. Sexism was only the first course. Speaking overnight at a thing called "Advertising Week Europe" in London, he heaped praise upon Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian leader “should just be in charge of Europe".
"He does what he says he’s gonna do, he gets the job done."
If that last line sounds familiar, it's because Ecclestone once said the same thing of -- wait for it -- Adolf Hitler. Yep.
"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," he waffled back in 2009.
Can women drive cars fast? Yes. Can Bernie Ecclestone be taken seriously? No. That's pretty much all you need to know here.Suggest a correction