Wednesday August 22nd, 2001
Europe stands to lose three Formula One races, with the Championship trimmed from 17 to 16 Grands Prix but running until later in the year, Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying.
"In order to integrate new races into the calendar - beginning with the Russian Grand Prix in Moscow, the first edition of which should be at the end of Spring 2003, and then a race in the Middle East - we must necessarily eliminate European dates," the sport's supremo told French sports paper L'Equipe.
"At least three in the short term because...we hope to limit the season to 16 races. I do not want to get rid of European races for the pleasure of getting rid of them but we have to."
However, the Briton confirmed the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours is safe for another five years.
"I cannot imagine the Championship without the oldest and most prestigious race on the calendar," he aded. "We have a contract with Magny Cours and an option for a further five years."
Ecclestone said the season would still start in March but would be extended by two weeks to allow a regular break for team employees during the European summer. He said there would be a case-by-case evaluation and could not give specific criteria, though he added it was not logical for Germany and Italy to have two races each every year.
That would mean Germany losing Hockenheim or Nurburgring and Italy either Imola or Monza. Ecclestone said everything would be looked at between now and the end of the year.
"The only thing that is certain is that two or three European races will be shed," he added.
Published at 18:50:09 GMT