Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said Asia would becoming central for motor racing and its premier competition as the sport moved away from its traditional heartland of Europe and the West, a media report said on Saturday.

“For years and years, I have been saying the world has been moving this way (to Asia), moving east, not west,” Straits Times newspaper quoted Ecclestone as saying.

Given the growth of motorsport in Asia, the shift to the East was inevitable, Ecclestone said ahead of Sunday’s third night Grand Prix in the city state.

In this year’s Formula One calendar, seven out of 19 races are in Asia. Next season, an additional Asian Grand Prix is planned in India.

The Singapore Grand Prix kicks off an Asian month in the schedule with races in Japan and South Korea set for October.

The inaugural South Korean Grand Prix planned for October 24 had been in doubt following speculation that the circuit might not be ready in time.

However, the organisers recently said the race would go ahead as planned.

Ecclestone praised the Singapore night GP, saying the event was “the jewel in the crown” of Formula One, the newspaper reported.

The inaugural race on the Marina Bay Circuit took place in 2008 when the Singapore organisers signed a five-year contract for the race.

“We want it to go on for 20 years,” Ecclestone said according to the report. “Then we’ll have another look and see, for the next five,” he added.

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