MAKING THE CALL: Bernie Ecclestone said that F1 will be looking for new grand prix venues outside of Europe. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
London - Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed reports that he intends to drop "one or two" European rounds from the Formula 1 calendar.
The F1 supremo was quoted this week as saying that while this year's schedule stands at an unprecedented 21 grands prix, the 2017 calendar could have as few as 18.
Ecclestone told the Russian news source RBC: "Absolutely. That is exactly what will happen - one or two countries will be excluded, definitely.
"I can't say which ones, but the new countries will be from a different part of the world. Not from Europe."
'Not the European championship'
Already, F1 has moved away from traditional European markets like France, while Germany and Italy are now endangered stops on the calendar.
Ecclestone said: "F1 is not the European championship. This is the world championship."
READ: Brazil GP next to get the F1 calendar chop?
But there have been several examples in recent years of new countries - like Turkey, Korea and India - joining the calendar but not enjoying any longevity.
Asked what a new venue like Azerbaijan can do to avoid the same fate, Ecclestone answered: "Pay!"
Told that many hosts argue that F1 races are no longer profitable, Ecclestone added: "It's not my fault. I don't organise the races. It's their task to attract the fans."