Ecclestone repeats 'domestic appliance' quip

Updated: June 24, 2005, 10:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Bernie Ecclestone might want to work on his apologies.

It seemed the Formula One president and CEO had seen the error of his words about women racing with men when he called Danica Patrick over the weekend, presumably to apologize.

But then he repeated his comments.

Ecclestone made news last week with his comments made in response to Patrick's fourth-place finish at the Indianpolis 500.

Asked about Patrick's success, Ecclestone acknowledged her strong finish, but then made an assessment about women racing with men that caused a stir, saying, "You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances."

On Saturday, Patrick received a phone call from Ecclestone, in which he complimented her on her performance at the Indy 500.

But Ecclestone caught Patrick off guard when he repeated to her his statement about women and "domestic appliances."

"I just didn't make sense of it," Patrick said during an IRL teleconference this week. "I was surprised, I guess, somebody would say that to me. And the days after, when it actually came out in the press, people were asking me 'What do you think of that?'

"I was like, 'You know what he told me? He said that on the phone.'"

Patrick said some of Ecclestone's comments were positive and complimentary, which made the exchange more perplexing.

"I can't believe that he would say it to me over the phone, not to my face, but directly to me," she said. "I was a bit confused. ... So I don't really know what to think about it.

"I don't know if he was talking about someone else or the majority or what, I'm not really sure. Or, maybe that's his real feeling.

"If that's the case, then you know, [it] doesn't really matter because I'm racing in the Indy Racing League."

Last month, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500. She finished fourth, the best finish by a female in the 89-year history of the race.

Ecclestone has garnered attention before for comments on women in racing.

The 74-year-old told Autosport racing magazine in Feb. 2000 that women would never excel in Formula One. He added that if a woman did make it, "she would have to be a woman who was blowing away the boys. ... What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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