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Formula One bosses are sweating over Bernie Ecclestone's plans to attend the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend.

The sport's former ringmaster told The Mail on Sunday last weekend that he intends to end his Covid-prompted absence from races, starting at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

But 91-year-old Ecclestone has since caused uproar by saying he would 'take a bullet' for Russian president Vladimir Putin.


91-year-old Bernie Ecclestone said that he would 'take a bullet' for President Vladimir Putin

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He also defended triple world champion Nelson Piquet after he used the n-word to describe seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Mail on Sunday understands that alarmed F1 bosses are monitoring the situation, wondering whether Ecclestone will actually press ahead with his intention to turn up.

The fact that Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, a friend of Ecclestone, owns the track in the Styrian mountains makes it more likely.

Three-time champion Nelson Piquet has been banned for life from attending any F1 event 

Formula One Group, who own the sport and control accreditation, declined to comment.

Ecclestone, 91, ran Formula One for four decades, turning it into a multi-billion-dollar business before losing day-to-day control in 2017, when Liberty Media bought the business. 

In a bizarre interview on Good Morning Britain, Ecclestone branded 69-year-old dictator Putin a 'first class person' and 'sensible', before telling Hamilton he should 'brush aside' Piquet's racial slur and 'be happy' with his apology.

Hamilton, speaking in the toxic build-up to Sunday's British Grand Prix, hit back at the likes of Ecclestone and Piquet, claiming they should be 'silenced'.

'I don't know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform,' he said.

In a bizarre interview on Good Morning Britain, former Formula 1 owner Bernie Ecclestone, 91, branded 69-year-old dictator Vladimir Putin a 'first class person' and 'sensible.'

'They are speaking for our sport, but we are looking to go somewhere different and they are not representative of who we are now and where we are planning to go.

'If we are looking to grow our audiences in the US and South Africa we need to be giving the younger people a platform. They are more representative of today's time and who we are trying to be. It is not just about one individual, or the use of that term, but the bigger picture.

'These older voices, subconsciously or consciously, do not agree people like me should be in this sport. Discrimination should not be projected.

'I don't think in the last couple of weeks a day has gone by where some of the older people who are not in our sport or have not been relevant in our sport for decades have tried to say negative things and bring me down, but I am still here and still standing strong and trying to do my work and pushing diversity.'

Referring to Ecclestone's interview, Hamilton added: 'There needs to be some accountability. You know what you are going to get with that and I don't know what GMB's goal is, if they were seeking to create and divide here in the UK.

Hamilton questioned why the likes of Eccleston and Piquet are given a platform in the sport

'We don't need any more of it, to hear from someone that believes in the war, and the displacement of millions of people and killing of thousands people, and supports that person [Putin] who is doing that.

'It is beyond me. I cannot believe I heard that today. It is affecting all those people out there and all people around the world. This is going to put us back decades, and we have yet to see the real brunt of the pain.'

Comments from another triple world champion Piquet, 69, came to light last week in which he referred to Hamilton as a 'neguinho', a Portuguese term which can be translated as 'n*****'. Piquet apologised and claimed it was a colloquial and inoffensive phrase. But Formula One Group, the sport's commercial rights holders banned him for life.

They have not sought to ban Ecclestone, though they distanced themselves strongly from his remarks, saying: 'The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very start contrast to the modern values of our sport.' 

The issue dominated the lead-up to tomorrow's race and spilled over into qualifying on Saturday. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was booed after he leapt to the defence of Piquet, claiming he is 'not a racist' and that it was 'wrong' to ban the controversial Brazilian from the sport.

The British driver said he 'definitely' did not agree with the booing of the Red Bull driver 

Max Verstappen seemed unperturbed by the booing of him while he was carrying out media duties on Saturday

The world champion, whose girlfriend Kelly Piquet is the Brazilian triple world champion's daughter, also claimed the offensive remarks have been blown out of proportion. 

But Hamilton disagreed with the hostile reception given to Verstappen. 'I think we're better than that. I would say we don't need to do the booing.

'We have such great fans, our sporting fans feel emotions up and down, but I definitely don't agree with booing. I don't think we need to do that.'

'I think we should be here pushing everybody. It doesn't make any difference when you boo someone, they've already made the mistake, or whatever it is.'

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I’m a lawyer – there are three groups of people being accused of stealing from self-checkout and only one is guilty

A LAWYER has revealed the three groups of people she believes are being accused of stealing from self-checkout kiosks while shopping.

Thousands of stores around the country have installed self-checkout stations to enhance customer experience, but some continue to take advantage of the system.

2Carrie Jernigan is a lawyer who shares her knowledge on TikTokCredit: TikTok 2Thousands of stores around the country have self-checkout kiosksCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Carrie Jernigan, who shares her law expertise on TikTok, says there are currently three groups of people who get accused of stealing from self-checkout.

The first group getting charged with shoplifting are those who enter the store with the intent to steal.

"When self-checkout first started, it was a very basic theft approach," she says.

Jernigan says people would scan a few items they planned to pay for and then drop a few extra items in their shopping bag.

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"Nowadays they know that will not work. The system is too good to do something that simple."

The lawyer says people will now enter the store with barcodes for much cheaper items taped to their hands and scan those while putting more expensive items in their shopping bags.

"It has become much harder for asset protection to be able to identify these thefts," Jernigan says.

The second group, the lawyer says, is those who she genuinely believes forgot to scan an item in their cart.

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She says it's usually something small or at the bottom of the cart that has been forgotten.

When self-checkout first started, Jernigan says these people would get stopped by asset protection on their way out of the store and either have them pay for the item they accidentally stole, or take it before the customer exits.

Now, she says, the big box stores are taking a "tell-it-to-the-judge" approach as self-checkout theft becomes more common.

Jernigan calls the third group "the truly innocent."

"Most of these [people] are not getting charged day-of," she says.

Instead, these people are targeted when asset protection does quality control or inventory checks days, weeks, or months later and start looking at hours of security camera footage if they come up short.

They analyze footage to see who were the last customers to pick up the items that have fallen short during inventory checks, Jernigan says.

"Because of who these big box stores are, they usually have to present very little evidence to get an affidavit for a warrant signed.

"The charges that could land you up to a year in jail get filed, and then you are fighting for your life trying to determine what day you were at Walmart, what all you bought - you have to spend thousands of dollars hiring a lawyer, and we have to go through grainy video footage to try to determine what all you bought that day," Jernigan says.

These people are then having to try to prove their innocence, which can be even more difficult if you paid in cash.

Many times, Jernigan says, people in this category have charges dismissed after their attorney can show proof that nothing was stolen.

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But the damage has already been done.

Jernigan's video has been viewed more than 2.7million times.

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