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Bernie Ecclestone regrets over-charging F1 circuits during tenure

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Bernie Ecclestone admits he charged Formula One circuits "a little too much" to host races during his time in charge of the sport.

Ecclestone was removed from a leadership position when new owners Liberty Media completed their takeover of F1 at the start of the year. It ended a spell of five decades of Ecclestone enjoying some form of authority over the sport.

During that time, Ecclestone turned F1 into a global sport which has ventured into numerous territories across the world -- albeit at rising costs for new venues, placing huge financial pressure on more traditional circuits to keep up. Speaking on his first appearance in the paddock since being made chairman emeritus of the sport, Ecclestone suggested he regrets just how much he charged venues such as the Sakhir International Circuit, host of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"When I convinced these people to build this place and all the other places, I feel a little bit responsible," Ecclestone said in the Bahrain paddock. "I charged them too much for what we provided so I feel a bit responsible. So when they ask me things I try and help them.

"We've delivered... Nothing to do with Liberty, and it went on my watch, we didn't deliver the show that we charged them for."

Since taking over Liberty have signalled a willingness to make a break from the Ecclestone era, suggesting a focus on securing historical European races such as the French Grand Prix, which will return to the calendar in 2018. Ecclestone thinks Liberty is more interested in improving the spectacle than making money -- something he happily admits was his main aim -- though he does not believe that approach works in the long term when a company has shareholders to report back to.

"It doesn't seem to me that they are doing things for money, which is good, whereas I was. I was running the company to try and make money for the shareholders. It doesn't seem that's the thing that's driving them. He [F1 CEO Chase Carey] wants to get more happy spectators I think."

When asked if Liberty's is a short-term investment, Ecclestone replied: "It's not for a few years when people start thinking you haven't done what you thought you would have ... I wouldn't want to be having to deliver to a public company today. I feel sorry for Chase having to do that."