Formula One: Ecclestone regrets upset caused by Hitler comments

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said Monday he regrets the upset caused by his praise of Adolf Hitler's leadership, but insisted he would not be forced to resign. Ecclestone defended his weekend comments to a British newspaper that Hitler "got things done" in an interview with the Associated Press. Ecclestone, F1's commercial rights holder, dismissed calls from the World Jewish Congress that he should resign. He also questioned the suitability of its president, Ronald Lauder, who has criticized Ecclestone. "I think the people who are saying that [I should resign] haven't got the power to say these things," Ecclestone said in a telephone interview. The World Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish communities in more than 80 countries, was founded in 1936 to "mobilize the world against the Nazi onslaught," it said on its Web site. It said it continues to secure "the rights and safety of Jews" around the world. Ecclestone questioned the influence of the WJC. "It's a pity they didn't sort the banks out... [if] they have a lot of influence everywhere," Ecclestone said, referring to the global economic crisis. He did not elaborate. As a result of Ecclestone's comments, the governor of Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg state, Guenther Oettinger, canceled their planned meeting at this weekend's German Grand Prix. Ecclestone said he was not aware of that. "I think I'm due to be meeting him at 12 o'clock on Sunday - nobody has told me to the contrary," he said.