Bernie Ecclestone has played down widespread reports that he was arrested in Brazil after trying to smuggle a gun onto a plane.
“I wasn’t arrested, I was questioned,” the former F1 supremo, who is now 91, told Bild newspaper.
Ecclestone actually lives in Brazil with his wife and their two-year-old son, and he was boarding his own plane for a trip to Switzerland.
“I had a small, tiny handgun, like the kind a woman carries in her purse in case someone jumps on her,” the diminutive Briton explained.
He also claims the gun was only “accidentally” in his suitcase, after he “waved it around a little at home and then put it on a t-shirt which was then packed with the gun”.
The gun itself was a Seecamp LWS 32 – one of the smallest pocket guns in the world.
As for his reported arrest, Ecclestone explained: “Everything was very friendly, very nice, and there were many Formula 1 fans I could talk to.”
He also told the Swiss newspaper Blick: “I hope the world has other important problems with guns, like Ukraine and at the school in Texas.
“It was just that I never registered this pistol that I’d long forgotten about. I bought it from a mechanic in the paddock and I didn’t have ammo for it.”
Another problem that delayed his release was that he had trouble paying the approximately $1200 fine because he had “no Brazilian currency” on him.
“In these times,” Ecclestone insisted, “the only important thing is that the family is healthy. My son Ace, who is almost two now, is already the real dictator in the Ecclestone house.”