For the past few years, Hockenheim and the Nürburgring have agreed to alternate hosting the Formula One German Grand Prix. 2015 should be the Nürburgring's turn, but the new owners don't have a contract with F1, so the grand prix goes to Hockenheim this year instead.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters, as quoted in Autoweek:
It [the German GP] is going to be at Hockenheim, we're in the middle of doing something with them.
It can't be Nurburgring because there's nobody there.
We've got a contract in place [with Hockenheim], we just have to amend the years of the contract. It was alternating with Nurburgring so we'll just take that out.
According to James Allen on F1, Russian pharmaceutical magnate Victor Kharitonin is believed to have purchased a 2/3 stake in the Nürburgring in November, with the rest of the ownership held by GetSpeed, GmbH.
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Unfortunately, it seems as if the new owners didn't remember to work things out with the FIA about hosting F1.
Nürburgring boss Carsten Schumacher emphasized yesterday the importance for the race contract to "remain affordable," and Ecclestone's reponse was apparently to give the race to Hockenheim.
Hockenheim has come under fire recently for low attendance, so it's surprising to see Ecclestone move to keep it there two years in a row so quickly. Or is it?
Part of this move actually sounds like butthurt on Ecclestone's part, as Ecclestone would have liked to purchase the historic circuit at one point. From his remarks to Reuters, as quoted by James Allen on F1:
We wanted to buy the Nürburgring, we made an offer and somebody topped us with a few dollars and bought it. And then they couldn't pay and it went on sale again. I said I'd be interested and then they found somebody else. So I don't know what's happening.
Smells like a case of Ecclestone taking his ball and going home. While the current Grand Prix circuit is a relatively modern addition to the 'ring, it's still sad to see a track with so much history attached to it lose the German Grand Prix.
It's also not a good sign that the new ownership will do any better than the previous ones who've floundered through recent years. Granted, Ecclestone is a hot mess to deal with on a good day, but you'd still think the circuit would tiptoe on eggshells just to make sure the German GP goes off without a hitch.
Don't peel off those "Save the Ring" stickers just yet, folks.
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