Jeremy Clarkson's much-publicised sacking for "losing his rag over dinner" has been branded "bizarre" by Top Gear's new host, Chris Evans, given that he had already survived "international incidents" unscathed.
During his career as host of the motoring programme, Clarkson was accused of making racist remarks against Romanians, Mexicans and Indians. TV watchdog Ofcom ruled he deliberately used offensive racial language to describe an Asian man.
He was also run out of Argentina for driving a car with the number plate H982 FKL, which many believed was a reference to the Falklands War.
But the 56-year-old presenter was eventually fired for punching one of the show's producers, Oisin Tymon, during a "fracas" over the fact there was no hot food available after a day of filming.
Evans said Clarkson was still his hero, but he admitted the two had not met in some time and did not know whether the pair still got on because he hasn't seen him "in ages".
"He is one of my heroes," Evans told GQ magazine. "He's entertaining. He was great on Top Gear and I love his writing."
Asked whether he thought Clarkson deserved to be fired, he said: "What is more fascinating is that he went for what he went for, considering what had gone on before."
He added: "If you look at the chronology of controversy of Top Gear over the last five or six years, it is bizarre that he went for losing his rag over his dinner when there had been international incidents before that."
Evans will make his debut with new presenters including actor Matt LeBlanc, female motor racing driver Sabine Schmitz and YouTube car reviewer Rory Reid when the show airs at the end of May 2016.
Meanwhile, Clarkson and former Top Gear co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May are yet to come up with a name for their new Amazon TV show.
The programme, which is set to début in the autumn, will be available to anyone who has signed up to the Amazon Prime streaming service.