Formula 1 TV icon Ted Kravitz has apologised to Valtteri Bottas for a comment that has dragged the star driver’s eating problems back into the spotlight.
The Sky Sports commentator revealed over the weekend he had sought Bottas out and apologised to him personally at the Bahrain Grand Prix after becoming aware his comment about the Alfa Romeo racer’s weight could have been considered insensitive.
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Kravitz told the TV audience he feels “terrible” after being told about Bottas’ previous struggles with an eating and weight loss disorder.
“I want to spend a little bit of time just to tell you about something stupid and insensitive I did, not knowingly, with Valtteri Bottas on Thursday,” he said on his Sky Sports Formula 1 wrap-up show.
“He’s lost a bit of weight around his jaw and I was quite surprised. I said, ‘Oh, you know, wow, you look so slim and as my mum would say you should eat some more food.’
“‘He was like, ‘No, no, no, I’m slim and I’m healthy’.
“I thought ‘that was a strange thing to say’ when he said healthy and I was later made aware of an interview he did earlier in this year, which I hadn’t seen, where he was talking about when he had close to what he described as an eating disorder. He’d dieted so much that he was unhealthy and losing weight.
“I felt so terrible about joking about him slimming down that I have since talked to his team and when I see him I’ll clear it up and say I had no idea that he was close to an eating disorder, and apologise for any offence that I had done.
“I thought it was to really impressive to have the bravery to come out and talk about what in the past was an eating disorder and good for Valtteri for speaking out about it.”
The Finnish driver is reported to have accepted the apology without the incident progressing further.
Bottas had only last month spoken about his struggles with the condition.
He revealed there was a time early in his career he pushed his body to dangerous levels “physically and mentally” while trying to establish himself in the toughest motorsport category in the world.
He told a local Finnish news agency he was living off steamed broccoli and saw his weight drop below a healthy level.
“I trained myself to pain, physically and mentally,” he said in an episode for season two of the Maria Veitola series,” he said.
“It got out of hand, and it became an addiction. No eating disorder was officially diagnosed, but it was definitely there.”
“It wasn’t very healthy. I wanted to be the best, and I thought I had to do that.
“If the team says that I have to weigh 68 kilos and I naturally weigh 73 kilos, then they will do everything for that.”
He said he consulted with a psychologist to manage the condition and has since been able to conquer the issue.