Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has accused former Formula One head honcho Bernie Ecclestone of being "ignorant and uneducated," after the latter made controversial comments about racism.

In a recent interview with CNN, Ecclestone said that in lots of cases, "black people are more racist than what white people are." In light of the recent issues surrounding racism, the ex-F1 boss made the comment even as he also praised Hamilton's drive to promote diversity in the white-dominated sport.

According to the BBC, the 35-year-old British driver said that Ecclestone's comments were "sad and disappointing." He also lamented about how much further we need to go as a society before we can achieve real equality.

For his part, Ecclestone praised Hamilton's efforts but said that he is not sure if the six-time world champion's campaign for diversity will make any real impact. "I don't think it's going to do anything bad or good for Formula One," he said.

He also disagreed with Hamilton's drive to tear down statues of historical figures who had links to the slave trade. Instead, Ecclestone believes that the statues should remain but children must be educated about their role in history. "I think it's completely stupid taking all these statues down. They should've left them there. Take the kids from school to look and say why they're there and what the people did and how wrong it was what they did," he said.

Hamilton says that he now understands why Formula One has functioned the way it has for so long, after hearing the former boss speak about racial issues. "It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career," he said.

Nevertheless, current F1 boss Chase Carey has launched a foundation to address the issues raised by Hamilton. Last week, he announced that the foundation will work towards the identification and systematic elimination of the barriers to entry from grassroots karting to the top-flight Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton said the problem of racism was not confined to America Photo: AFP / JOHN THYS