Formula 1 is being ruined by political correctness, claims Tamara Ecclestone, whose billionaire father Bernie was the motor sport’s supremo until 2017.
‘Times have changed since he was running things, and they maybe have changed slightly for the worse,’ she tells me at the preview night for Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London.
‘Everyone’s very offended… You have to be so careful about what you say. It’s everything, even sometimes you think it’s meant in jest.’
Last year, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton called for the sport’s ‘grandees’ to be silenced, saying ‘enough is enough’.
He was responding to Nelson Piquet’s use of a racial slur when referring to him, and Ecclestone’s defence of Russian president Vladimir Putin as a ‘first-class person’.
Darcey’s Strictly support for Croft
Strictly Come Dancing contestant Annabel Croft left judges and her audience in tears when she paid an emotional tribute to her late husband Mel Coleman earlier this month.
She brought the house down by blowing a kiss skywards at the end of her captivating performance.
The ex-tennis star will perform the American Smooth with Johannes Radebe (right), tonight at the Blackpool Tower.
As Croft, 57, prepares, she has been getting support from her friend and former Strictly judge Dame Darcey Bussell, 54 (left), whom she saw this week.
‘It’s amazing how Annabel has expressed her grief through dancing,’ Dame Darcey tells me.
‘Being on Strictly has really helped her manage it and by giving her that focus and attention of working with a beautiful man like Johannes. They are a beautiful and elegant couple and are going to be stunning in super Blackpool.’
Hiddleston takes on heartfelt role
The Night Manager star Tom Hiddleston and his girlfriend, actress Zawe Ashton, became parents last year — and are determined to help those whose children are born prematurely.
The couple (right) attended the Borne to Dance Gala in London this week, which raised more than £100,000 for Borne, a charity trying to end premature births.
‘Borne is doing some extraordinary things in the research of the cause of stillbirths,’ Old Etonian Hiddleston, 42, tells me.
Ashton, 39, has not disclosed the name or sex of their child.
The smart set’s talking about… A success(ion) story for Earl of Bradford’s son
Having endured an acrimonious divorce from his second wife, the eminent obstetrician Dr Penelope Law, the Earl of Bradford has received some cheering news at last.
The restaurateur’s son and heir Alexander Bridgeman, Viscount Newport, is to become a father.
His wife Eliza is expecting their first child — and they have guaranteed the succession because the baby will be a boy.
‘Lord and Lady Newport are very excited to welcome a baby boy in the spring,’ a spokesman confirms.
Latvia-born Eliza showed off her baby bump in this photograph online (right). ‘Baby Newport [is] becoming very hard to hide,’ she remarks.
The 32-year-old married Lord Newport, 43, in a sumptuous, three-day wedding at his family’s ancestral home of Weston Park, in Shropshire, last year.
I can’t wait to find out what name they give him. The earl’s second son, Harry Bridgeman, named his child Moon — a brother for their girls River and Sunny.
Lady Colin’s luxury flat donor revealed
The mystery man who gave Lady Colin Campbell the ‘extraordinarily generous’ gift of a penthouse apartment in Tangier can be revealed.
He is Jonathan Dawson, a journalist who was sent to report on the Moroccan city and decided to stay.
‘She’s a darling,’ he says of the royal biographer who wasn’t to everyone’s tastes when she competed on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015.
‘I’ve known her for 40 years. I have moved to Gibraltar, so decided to give her my flat.’
Yesterday, I disclosed Lady Colin had been given the flat, where Dawson once entertained Sir Michael Palin on the travel presenter’s 60th birthday.
Comedienne Katherine Ryan has undergone various operations over the years. ‘Not so many plastic surgeries,’ says the 40-year-old, ‘just different things — tonsils out… actual medical surgeries.’ The Canadian star of Channel 4 hit 8 Out Of 10 Cats adds: ‘Before I go under, it does make me very nervous, and I try to joke. Ever since I’ve got on television in this country, I’ve said, “Careful. If you kill me it’ll be in the Daily Mail”.’
Queen Camilla is not upset by her old friend Nicky Haslam calling the Prince and Princess of Wales childish and unsophisticated, with ‘common’ dress sense.
‘We’re fine, as I didn’t say anything bad about her,’ the 84-year-old interior designer tells me at Langan’s Brasserie in Mayfair, central London.
He adds: ‘I can say anything about William because he’s my [distant] cousin.’
Haslam, who was born to one of Queen Victoria’s goddaughters, adds of his playful ‘Common List’: ‘People have seen the funny side — I’m loving it.’
The only way is Essex for Jack
Jack Whitehall grew up and now lives in West London.
But the comedian, who went to Marlborough College, believes the only way is Essex for his daughter Elsie, aged two months.
Her mother, model Roxy Horner (above, with Jack), is from Rayleigh in the county. ‘I fully intend to raise her as a full-blown Essex girl to wind up my father,’ says Jack, referring to ex-theatrical agent Michael Whitehall, whom he has called ‘the biggest snob in the world’. Jack tells me: ‘I want Elsie’s first words to be, “Shut up”.’
(Very) modern manners
Struggling to put a painful split behind you?
Paloma Faith has given fans a very modern, seven-point ‘break-up survival guide’ after the collapse of the singer’s marriage to French artist Leyman Lahcine.
Advice includes ‘block them on all social media’ and wear a ‘full look’ every day. Faith, 42, says: ‘You need to empower yourself, dress up, put your make-up on.’ Having penned lyrics about the split for her new album, she adds: ‘Turn your suffering into wealth, do something creative.’
Faith reveals she even paid for a billboard at the end of Lahcine’s road to be plastered with her image: ‘I’ve actually done this, so I hope that he looked at me every day and was, like, “s***”.’