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.