F1 could shed races – Ecclestone

(GMMf1NET) F1's lengthy grand prix calendar could shed one or two races in 2007 or beyond.

That is the admission of Bernie Ecclestone, F1 'supremo' and author of the unprecedentedly long 2005 and 2006 world championship schedules.

''Nineteen is too many,'' the diminutive Briton, 75, said after the Sid Watkins safety lecture in Birmingham (UK).

''We want 17-18 — trim one off.''

Ecclestone will reportedly leap to the rescue of the embattled Spa Francorchamps (Belgium) and Hockenheim (Germany) races, but indicated that he was unlikely to do the same for the ever-condemned British GP.

Referring to Silverstone, Ecclestone said: ''If they don't rebuild it and put it in line with the other third-world countries, there won't be a Silverstone.''

Also in doubt is the US grand prix, the F1 impresario contended. In the context of the expiring deal with Indianapolis, scene of the farcical race last June, Ecclestone said: ''For 2007, the answer at the moment is let's see.''

Bernie also reckons another customary fixture of the F1 circus may be about to exit — Michael Schumacher.

He said he 'wouldn't be surprised' if the seven time world champion calls it quits at the end of the 2006 season. Bernie Ecclestone added: ''He'll probably get a bit tired of chasing round the world.''

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