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.

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone

Photo by: xpb.cc

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.