Formula 1

Hockenheim to retain German Grand Prix for 2015 says F1 chief

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Hockenheim is set to retain hosting duties for the 2015 German Grand Prix according to F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.

The race was pencilled in for July 19th in the official calendar released last week, however, the circuit that would stage one of the most historic Grand Prix's was not included.

This is because the race has alternated between Hockenheim and the equally famous Nurburgring since 2007 as a way of maintaining of keeping costs down for both sides and maintaining Germany's place on the schedule.

Under the alternation plan the Nurburgring would return to the calendar for this year, however, last year the entire facility, including the infamous Nordschleife, was bought out amid continuing financial problems and, according to Ecclestone, the 2015 race can only take place at Hockenheim because at Nurburgring "there's nobody there".

Cost effective?

But while the F1 supremo implies there is no-one to do a deal with at the circuit perched in the Eifel mountains, the new CEO, the aptly named Mr. Carston Schumacher, has spoken out about hosting an F1 Grand Prix saying it needs to be worth the often very large expense.

“The Formula One is welcome at the Nürburgring,” Schumacher told “It provides worldwide television pictures, a positive image and would bring high sales to the region.

“However, the Formula One has to remain affordable."

Ticket prices

Indeed this issue of value has been mentioned by other F1 circuit bosses around the world, Silverstone's new managing director Patrick Allen is aiming to cut the price of a general admission ticket at the British Grand Prix by £50 from the 2015 cost of £155.

Fans have been voicing their displeasure at the increase in ticket prices year on year and Allen believes the risk of cutting the price for a basic ticket by a third would be offset by increased attendances.

"Generally speaking, to get more people here every year, you don't do that by putting the ticket prices up," said Allen, speaking to the BBC.

"We are desperately trying to bring the ticket price down. We need to drive cost out of the delivery of the Grand Prix event, and that's what I'll be focusing on - but not to the detriment of the customer experience.

"So if we can get to a place where going to the British Grand Prix is a fabulous event, is not price-prohibitive, and everybody has a great time and walks out of the gate thinking 'Fantastic! I'm going to book my ticket tomorrow for next year', that's where we want to be."

Five-year deal in the works

And ensuring there is far more to the F1 experience than just a 300km race on a Sunday is also on Razlan Razali's agenda as he looks to negotiate a new five-year deal to keep the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

This year is the last on the current contract and there have been rumours that with ever more competition for places on the F1 calendar, decreasing attendances at the circuit near Kuala Lumpur could make it a possible target to be dropped.

However Razali is confident that Sepang, which has hosted the race since its début in 1999, can agree an extension to the end of the decade and can also be a part of improving the attractions both on and off the track for fans.

"There was a lot of negativity surrounding F1 last year," he was quoted by BT Sport.

"So we have discussed with Mr Ecclestone on how to make it exciting as an event.

"Fortunately, this time around, Mr Ecclestone was very much open to a lot of ideas from us, compared to previous years when I have met him.

"So there were a lot of ideas on fan engagement, fan activation, how to get the drivers closer to the fans, also a relaxation on certain areas of the circuit to bring in more activities.

"So it was a very positive meeting with him, and we're happy. In the last six years of being in charge of the Sepang Circuit it was one of the best meetings we've had with him."

F1's feeder series

The Malaysian race has also lost out on some of F1's feeder series in recent years with GP2 and GP3 only visiting Abu Dhabi outside of Europe having previously dropped Sepang for nearby Singapore.

That means fans are lacking on-track action when Lewis Hamilton et al have complete their day's work leaving those at the circuit unsatisfied. Razali pointed to MotoGP who bring three categories of motorcycle racing to the races supporting the main event itself.

"We need to identify and find ways to bridge the inaccessibility gap between the F1 drivers and the fans because they're miles apart right now," said Razlan.

"On track for us we have three great races with MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, but in Malaysia we only have Formula One, with support races restricted to our national championship, which is not exciting.

"We need exciting support races like GP2 and GP3 which is appealing to fans, and Mr Ecclestone has offered us GP2, as well F2 and F3."

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