Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned Formula 1 not to forsake its European heartland.
Only eight of the 20 races on the 2012 calendar will be held in Europe, which as a percentage is the lowest in the history of the World Championship. F1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone recently suggested that the number could dwindle to just five in the future. Di Montezemolo, however, insists that if the sport fails to preserve its races in Europe, it could weaken F1.
"Maintaining the importance of Europe in Formula 1 is very important," he said. "It's good to see F1 in India, in Russia, in Korea, in the Middle East and of course in the United States, but we must not lose our tradition and history in Europe, particularly when we see that some of the new circuits are not as good as Spa, for example. We have to be careful not to dilute the image of Formula 1."
Despite urging caution, di Montezemolo welcomed the planned return of F1 to the United States in 2012 after a four-season absence. He admitted that he was puzzled that a higher priority was not given to running races in the U.S., with so many other countries joining the calendar in recent years.
"I'm very happy about the possibility of going to the United States, finally," he said. "It was strange that F1 went to many countries, but not to the largest car market in the world."