Nov.29 (GMM/ European races are a dying breed on the formula one calendar, Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday.

At present, there are eight European rounds on the 20-event 2012 schedule, with the majority of the season therefore taking place throughout Asia, the Far and Middle East and the Americas.

And Europe should prepare to shed even more events in the future, said Ecclestone, with the F1 chief executive telling Spain’s Marca that the continent – currently gripped in a worsening economic crisis – is “finished”.

“I think in the next few years Europe will be left with only five races,” he said.

“I think Europe is finished. It will be a good place for tourism but little else. Europe is a thing of the past,” added Ecclestone.

Told that Europe is F1’s spiritual home, he insisted: “It used to be.”

He said the next hosts to join the calendar will be Russia and perhaps also South Africa and Mexico.