With Formula 1 being such a fast-paced world, news stories come and go instantaneously – this week’s major headline has been no different. As identified in a previous post, the Nurburgring’s financial issues seem to have reached a pressure point and with the circuit CEO highlighting the lack of a contact to hold the 2015 German Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone yesterday revealed that the event is likely to be held at Hockenheim.
The relationship between the two circuits began in 2008, following the signing of a contract which would see the venues share the German Grand Prix, each hosting the event on a biannual basis. This was an effective measure to keep both circuits in the picture, following the Nurburgring loosing its status as the European Grand Prix.
However, speculation in regards to the Nurburgring’s sustainability was rife in 2012, when it became apparent that the venue faced financial issues. It appears that these issues have taken their tole and as such, the circuit can no longer afford to host F1.
Ultimately, it is fortunate that the German Grand Prix has two homes – Hockenheim is ready to step up to the plate of hosting the 2015 event, according to Mr.E. “We’ve got a contract in place [with Hockenheim],” he highlighted when speaking to Reuters, “we just have to amend the years of the contract. It was alternating with Nurburgring so we’ll just take that out.” On the grounds of this statement, the current negotiations could perhaps be with a long-term element in mind. It is unknown as to how long it will take for the Nurburging’s wallet to recover from this recent set-back.
If the latter prediction proves to be true, it will undoubtedly be F1’s loss. The circuit has a rich history and has hosted classic Grand Prix in the modern era. Who could forget the final lap drama in 2005, which saw Kimi Raikkonen’s flat-spotted tyre make a bid for freedom and cost him certain victory; or Markus Winkelhock’s brave decision which saw his Spyker lead the field following a typical underdog’s gamble; or Sebastian Vettel’s maiden home victory in 2013. The Nurburgring has certainly provided some memorable moments in recent times.
However, Hockenheim is certainly a worthy replacement. The venue hosted one of the best races of 2014, with Lewis Hamilton’s plucky performance seeing him recover from the back of the field to P3, with plenty of wheel-to-wheel combat along the way. In addition, the support races also provided plenty of entertainment, with the GP2 Feature Race proving to be one of the most exciting sporting spectacles of 2014 – let alone the best GP2 race.
While Hockenheim may have struggled to attract strong crowds this season, I am in no doubt that the German Grand Prix is in safe hands. The wait looks set to begin to see if the Nurburging can retake a place on the calender in the future.
Image Credit: "Hockenheim 2014 - Bottas Leading Hamilton" By Tommi Nummelin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons