London, July 7 (ANI): Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that there has been a "big misunderstanding" over his comments about Nazi dictator Hitler that appeared in the press over the weekend.
Ecclestone had said that Hitler was a "man who could get things done" during an interview in which he expressed strong views on dictators.
His comments were met with widespread negative reaction, particularly from the Jewish community. He now insists that he never meant to hurt anybody and added: "Many of my closest friends are Jews."
Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Ecclestone said: "This was all a big misunderstanding. I did not put Hitler forward as a positive example, but simply noted that, before his appalling crimes, he acted successfully against unemployment and the economic crisis."
According to The Guardian, Ecclestone claimed that it was never his intention to "hurt the feelings of a community, and added that many of his closest friends are Jews.
Jewish groups worldwide have called on Ecclestone to resign, and he faces further trouble this Sunday at the German grand prix at the Nürburgring circuit.
A senior German Jewish official was quoted by the Handelsblatt daily as calling for a boycott of Ecclestone by Formula One teams. (ANI)