Ecclestone asks Hungarian President “Was your crown made in China?”

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Hungarian Grand Prix organisers marked the 25th anniversary of their first F1 race this weekend.

They put on a lavish ceremony attended by F1’s top drivers, Formula One Management CEO Bernie Ecclestone and the new Hungarian President P??l Schmitt.

The video below from Hungarian news site shows some highlights from the event including an amusing exchange between Schmitt and Ecclestone – the F1 boss asking whether a 1,000-year-old crown he was shown had been “made in China”.

Fortunately the Hungarian president seemed to take the joke in the manner it was intended.

Earlier Schmitt thanked Ecclestone for arranging the first Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986, when Hungary was still part of the Eastern Bloc:

I would like to express my distinguished gratitude to Mr Bernie Ecclestone who decided around 30 years ago he would have a race in one of the former socialist countries.
P??l Schmitt

Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Heikki Kovalainen, Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock, Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto were among the drivers present.

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

33 comments on “Ecclestone asks Hungarian President “Was your crown made in China?””

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  1. Hungary was never part of the USSR… It was part of the Soviet Bloc.

    1. Sorry, my mistake. Fixed it.

  2. Sorry to be picky, but Hungary was never part of the USSR… Going to a country behind the Iron Curtain was a great, bold step. Terrific blog!

  3. Nice and insightful, who knew Bernie was genuinely funny?

  4. If he had asked the same question from the Queen of England, he would been even shorter now (about a head). Cheeky dwarf!

  5. Cheeky joke.

    Crucify him!

  6. Haha, yeah, 1000 years ago there were actually things that werent made in China :P
    But most funny were all the drivers looking soo scared and saying to the cameras (again) things like “this is one of the best circuits in the calendar” :\ They all know its not the best, or even one of the bast, but they also know Hungarian GP was quite important here in Central Europe. Take a look at Lewis saying it, and looking like a kid trying to lie and knowing deep inside everyone knows he’s bluffing :D

    1. Drivers say that about every circuit they visit. Unfortunately, they are as much paid for being enthusiastic about every place and person they visit as they are for driving the cars.

      Ecclestone is far too cocky. If a driver joked like that there’d be a media furore and talk of “bringing the sport into disrepute.”

      1. “Drivers say that about every circuit they visit”

        That’s not entirely true as Webber called valencia a tesco carpark last year when he was actually at the circuit.

        I think this is a track the drivers enjoy more than the fans. There may not be a lot of action but it’s corner after corner with mostly a nice flow to it. There will be some PR to it there nearly always is but I think the drivers do generally enjoy this track.

        1. Indeed, there was criticism of Valencia from several drivers this year:

          “Not the most interesting circuit” – what the drivers say about Valencia

        2. Maybe that’s why Webber wasn’t invited :)

  7. Not sure Bernie would have dared make the same comment in England (nor in Japan or even the Netherlands or Spain).

    And I noticed Alonso wearing glasses there!

  8. What a tremendous guy Bernie is, knowledgeable and witty. I would rather have lunch with him than any woman in the world, and I’d pay him 10,000$ for the experience.

    1. Someone please block Bernie’s mother from commenting on this blog.

      Her opinion is Biased.

      1. Agreed, Also please note how Bernie’s mother refers to women.


        Witty Bernie? I think Stupid Bernie comes close… Yeah it was funny, but to a President? Hmmm…..

  9. He’d take the money straight away. (joke)

  10. Rob Gallagher
    7th August 2010, 14:01

    Karun isn’t there how… interesting.

    1. Yeah I saw that as well, something tells me Karun isn’t coming back anytime soon.

  11. He was lucky. Remember last time how the Jewish community responded to his Hitler quotes? And his remarks about women ‘being household objects’? He was really lucky the PRESIDENT of Hungary wasn’t offended.

    1. Or maybe the president of Hungary is smart enough (good advisors?) to not show any annoyance at it, but go along with it cursing Bernie later to his friends and family.

  12. Well, I am not here to defend BE but I can’t remember a day running out with me touching a “Made In China” product. :( …..

    Whoever is without this sin, let him/she throw the first stone. (sigh)

  13. That’s our Bernie!!!

    (insert 1980’s studio audience laughter)

  14. Robert McKay
    7th August 2010, 17:31

    Is Bernie turning into Prince Phillip :-D

    1. That’s what I wondered too :P

  15. In the last scene, you can see Adrian Sutil in the background..

  16. That’s the Bernie we all know.

  17. i can’t believe the guts of that guy! such unrefined jokes can’t be appreciated by hungarians.quite offending to say sthing like that about one’s history. BE was at the hungarian parliament with the President who was explaining him a piece of history, not just any but about the Holy Crown and the first king. was BE aware of what was going on, couldn’t he figure out that what he was saying might be offending?

  18. As someone already said above, if he said that to the Queen of England, she would’ve walked out of the room immediately

  19. Darling Bernie was uncouth to be quite mild – yes, he is a cheeky dwarf but the problem is that a lot of people take his ‘jokes’ lying down and do not dare to rebuke him because they are afraid he will move away his circus. A lot of Hungarians would not miss him and his miserable, pathetic money-addicted staff. The whole world would be better off without the damage these races do the the environment, by the way.

  20. GooddayBruce
    9th August 2010, 13:21

    Love that bit where Massa has a camera in his face and a load of mikes – then most of them disappear when Alonso turns up!

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