Ecclestone at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix.
In 1998, there were 16 races in the F1 season. Eleven were in Europe, two in South America, plus one in Canada, Japan and Australia.
By 2013, there were 19 races. Only seven were in Europe and, with Ecclestone chasing ever-increasing race hosting fees, eight were in Asia. France, the birthplace of grand prix racing, no longer has an F1 race, but the desert along the coast of the Persian Gulf has two.
Ecclestone has built F1 into a revenue-producing juggernaut, at least for the sport's shareholders, but it has often been at the expense of the sport's European base.
Some variety is good, and there have been notable successes in the recent global expansion—Malaysia springs to mind. Holding several races each year in front of half-empty grandstands in countries with no motor racing tradition but lots of cash rankles the most diehard fans.
For 2014, the Indian and Korean Grands Prix have been removed from the calendar. The Russian Grand Prix has been added, with a new circuit being built in Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Even better, the Austrian Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2003. The track's exciting, high-speed layout is unchanged, although it has been renamed from the A1-Ring to the Red Bull Ring.
The Mexican Grand Prix also seems to be on the way back, at least for as long as Carlos Slim is financing 10 percent of the grid or so.
Will 2014 mark the beginning of a new trend, with the F1 calendar slowly shifting back toward Europe and the New World?
That question will likely be answered by Ecclestone's successor. Speaking of which...