Next month’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheim could be the last at the historic venue according to media reports.
With the future of the race in the balance for some time, a press release by the owners of the Nurburgring, the circuit that shares hosting duties of the Grand Prix, claimed negotiations were underway to make the venue the permanent home from 2015.
That triggered an angry response from Hockenheim’s boss Georg Seiler who blasted the release of the negotiations as “outrageous”.
“In Formula One there is an unwritten law that says ‘No press releases while you are negotiating’. This is scandalous,” he told German news agency SID.
Currently the deal which sees the two venues host the race bi-annually has another four years to run with Hockenheim set to host in both 2016 and 2018, however, according to the Capricorn group, who recently bought the struggling Nurburgring venue, a new deal would last for four straight years from next year.
Seiler argued that F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone “cannot and will not terminate” the current deal.
The Briton, however, told Auto Motor und Sport that should a deal be agreed with the Nurburgring then the current alternation between the two tracks will end.
“I met with the people from Capricorn,” he confirmed. “The problem is that they need to find revenues on the level of other European races.
“Since the Nurburgring is close to Spa, I offered them the same deal that Belgium has,” he added.
In that scenario the race organisers would give up ticket revenues in return for a lower race fee.
“I have nothing against Hockenheim,” he explained, “but it seems that they are not able to meet our requirements.
“To help them, we had to enter into an agreement with special conditions. But it can’t stay like that forever,” said Ecclestone.
“If we sign a long-term agreement with the Nurburgring, it’s best to end the existing contract and begin the new one as early as 2015.”
Should the deal be completed it would see the circuit most associate as the home of the German Grand Prix be lost from the calendar.
There has been pressure on the circuit from F1 bosses for some time, indeed in 2002 the original four mile layout, which blasted through the neighbouring forest, was destroyed and a shorter layout built to meet Ecclestone’s demands.
This caused a backlash from fans who were sad to see what was one of the great old-fashioned circuits disappear, the new track has never achieved a similar level of admiration.
While the Nurburgring also has a special place in racing fan’s hearts to see the end of Hockenheim as a F1 venue would be a sad day for all.
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