Formula One: Nuerburgring says no to German Grand Prix

BERLIN (REUTERS) – The Nuerburgring circuit will not host the German Formula One Grand Prix this year, an official for the company said on Thursday after Hockenheim also ruled out the possibility.
Felipe Massa crashes at Hockenheim 2014. Photo: Reuters
Felipe Massa crashes at Hockenheim 2014. Photo: Reuters

The Nuerburgring was scheduled to host the July 19 race under an alternation agreement with Hockenheim, which hosted last year’s grand prix and has an agreement for 2016.

A Nuerburgring spokesman said the circuit could not do so “for time, financial and organisational reasons.”

On Tuesday, Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler ruled out stepping in as a replacement after Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that track was the only remaining option.

The absence of Germany, home of reigning world champions Mercedes, for the first time since 1960 leaves the calendar with 19 races.

Both German circuits have financial problems, with Hockenheim shouldering heavy losses due to poor attendances in recent years.

The Nuerburgring, one of the sport’s most historic venues with the original track dating from the pre-World War Two years, has changed ownership since it last appeared on the calendar.

“Very sad to hear no more home GP this year,” Force India’s German driver Nico Huelkenberg said on Twitter.

German drivers have been among the most successful in Formula One, with Michael Schumacher winning a record seven world titles and 91 races while Sebastian Vettel is a four times champion.

However, attendances dwindled after Schumacher, who won five of his titles for Ferrari, retired in 2012 after an unsuccessful comeback with Mercedes.

Only 52,000 fans turned up on race day at Hockenheim last year to see Germany’s Nico Rosberg win the race for Mercedes.

The victory was the first by a German driver in a German car on home soil since the 1930s.