The sport's 84-year-old commercial ringmaster, who was the designer of the original Concorde Agreements that bound together the teams and the ruling body, has blamed himself for the current financial crisis that has reduced the grid for Sunday's United States Grand Prix to 18 cars.

It is the smallest grid in a decade, amid fears of a further cut to 12 or 14 next year.

And he has suggested that the sport's biggest and richest teams now have to dig into their own pockets to help rescue the strugglers before F1 is left on the brink of a major meltdown.

"The problem is there is too much money probably being distributed badly - probably my fault," Ecclestone told reporters in the Circuit of the Americas paddock late on Saturday.

"But like lots of agreements people make, they seemed a good idea at the time."

Asked if he regretted the deals in question, he said: "If the company belonged to me I would have done things in a different way because it would have been my money I was dealing with. But I work for people who are in the business to make money."

Trapped between the needs of his shareholders and the greedy craving for success of the leading teams, Ecclestone proposed one short-term idea that might briefly paper over the cracks -- asking the big teams to share their bloated proportion of the prize money with the minnows.

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