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Bernie Ecclestone: No hard feelings towards Liberty over F1 exit

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Bernie Ecclestone says he has no ill feeling towards Liberty Media following his exit as CEO of Formula 1 in January, but would have preferred to spend at least one more year in the role.

Ecclestone enjoyed a 40-year stint at the helm of F1 before being forced to resign from his position two months ago when Liberty completed its $8 billion takeover of the series.

Ecclestone was replaced by American executive Chase Carey, who will form part of a triumvirate to run the sport alongside commercial chief Sean Bratches and technical expert Ross Brawn.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Ecclestone said that he felt no ill feeling towards Liberty despite being removed from his role after initially planning to extend his stint in charge.

“Not at all. I know the way the world operates,” Ecclestone said, before adding that he would have preferred to spend one more year in the role to see if he could work with Liberty.

“I would have asked them to work with me for a bit, wait for a year and afterwards say: ‘Has it worked, not worked?'” Ecclestone said.

“‘Not worked? Sorry, you’ll have to leave,’ or whatever. But different people operate companies differently, obviously.

“I think this is very much the way American companies operate. Let’s be absolutely sensible about it: they bought the car, they wanted to drive it.”

Ecclestone did however feel that Liberty had judged him too harshly on his business record in F1, having previously said that the sport had not been maximizing its potential.

“These people have thought and said, and Chase has said, that I hadn’t done a very good job in the last three years,” Ecclestone said.

“I thought I had, CVC thought I had, and I managed to produce $1.5 billion-a-year income, which made their shares worth a lot of money.

“Maybe if I’d have done a lousy job people could have bought the shares cheaper.”

Now in the honorary role of ‘chairman emeritus’, Ecclestone said he plans to attend around half of the F1 races in 2017.

“I’ve been asked and invited to go to most of them, so I’ll have to try and sort it out. Probably at least half of them,” Ecclestone confirmed.

The new F1 season begins on March 26 in Melbourne, Australia.

McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”