Bernie Ecclestone has revealed the Nurburgring is unlikely to host the German grand prix next year.
The circuit was listed on the leaked provisional calendar that was doing the rounds in the Singapore paddock last weekend, but the Nurburgring’s precarious financial situation has also been well documented. F1 chief executive Ecclestone confirmed: “We are just looking at Hockenheim every year.
“We have got no contract with the Nurburgring but we are talking. It would be like starting from scratch,” he told the Financial Times Deutschland.
A Nurburgring spokesman confirmed the talks with Ecclestone and said officials are “in good spirits”. But, just two days before the FIA needs to ratify a 2013 calendar at the World Motor Sport Council, it is surprising the Nurburging officials are so bullish.
“If it is not supported by the region it is going to be difficult at the minute,” said Ecclestone. “We are pretty close to the final deadline,” he added.
A leaked version of the provisional calendar for F1’s 2013 season is doing the rounds in the Singapore paddock.
Several media sources have now published the 20-race schedule, which has Melbourne opening the 2013 championship next March, and Brazil again hosting the finale at the end of November. New Jersey is the only new race, taking place in mid-June just a week after Canada, while Valencia has as expected dropped off the calendar which for 2013 features an unprecedented eight back-to-back weekends.
The financially-embattled Nurburgring’s July date is only provisional, and Singapore is also subject to confirmation, with race officials still yet to agree a new contract with Bernie Ecclestone. Korea’s race is also marked as provisional.
Reports suggest the FIA is likely to ratify the draft schedule next week.
David Coulthard on Thursday said he is confident Singapore will stay on the Formula One calendar into the future.
The contract for F1’s highly popular night race on the streets of the Asian city-state is set to expire, with Singapore officials and Bernie Ecclestone reportedly clashing over the sanctioning fee.
“All of us hope that it will be renewed because it’s such an important race on the calendar,” said Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.
Coulthard, a former McLaren and Red Bull driver and now a commentator for British television, sounded confident F1’s chief executive would renew the deal.
“Bernie knows how important (Singapore) is,” he is quoted by the Straits Times.
Almost another year may pass before it is known whether Singapore is staying on the F1 calendar.
The city-state’s popular night race, set to take place this weekend for the fifth time, has become one of the most highly anticipated stops on the sport’s annual calendar.
But the current contract does not run beyond 2012, even though Singapore reportedly has to serve more notice before it can cease organising the event.
Reports earlier this year quoted Singapore officials as saying they were no longer willing to pay “top dollar” for their popular event.
S. Iswaran, the government minister in charge of tourism, told the Bloomberg news agency that talks are underway.
“We will take a hard look at the benefits that accrue to the economy as a whole and in turn what are the costs that the government would have to incur in order to continue to support this event in Singapore’s context,” he said.
Bloomberg said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Magny Cours has lodged an application to be considered for F1’s 2013 calendar.
French language sources RMC, L’Equipe and AFP said the application was given to the country’s sanctioning body FFSA this week. The reports said Paul Ricard also intends to apply for consideration next week.
RMC claimed that while the FFSA did not comment, both Magny Cours and Paul Ricard propose to host one race every two years, in alternation with another country.
F1’s governing FIA is expected to publish the draft of the 2013 calendar in early October.
FFSA president Nicolas Deschaux is quoted by L’Equipe as saying France will only return to the calendar if it can convince F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
“The commercial rights holder does not hear arguments of the heart,” he warned.
Turkey could be returning to the Formula One calendar. Between 2005 and last year, despite poor spectator attendance, drivers enjoyed the Hermann Tilke-designed Istanbul layout, featuring the unique quadruple-apex Turn 8. But the race was not included on the 2012 schedule, after organisers and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone disagreed over the sanctioning fee.
81-year-old Ecclestone, however, said on Wednesday that he, the teams and the FIA are “happy” to go to Turkey. He told the major daily Haberturk: “If we can solve this (fee) problem, Turkey can return to the F1 calendar.”
It is not known if the news is linked with recent reports that, amid Greece’s severe economic crisis, the country could enlist neighbour Turkey’s help to stage a formula one street race in Athens. A report in the Hurriyet daily said Greece was in serious talks with Turkish race official Mumtaz Tahincioglu.
“We have to support all projects that market Greece,” said Greek sports minister Kostantinos Cavares.
The new Concorde Agreement will allow Bernie Ecclestone to expand F1’s race calendar.
The current deal provides for 17 races, with only separate agreements with the teams pushing the existing race schedule to twenty grands prix between March and November. F1 chief executive Ecclestone said this weekend in Monaco that he is close to finalising the 2013 commercial contract with all the teams.
Writing in the Guardian newspaper, business journalist Christian Sylt reports that the new deal will “allow Ecclestone to set up more races”.
The 2013 Concorde builds in the “flexibility to go beyond 20 races”, Ecclestone confirmed.
“We have got four or five places waiting to do something.”
One host in waiting is Thailand, who have made their intentions clear by successfully bidding to host this year’s end-of-season Race of Champions event in December.
“We aim to bring Formula One to Thailand as well,” said the southeast Asian country’s sports minister Chumphol Silpa-archa.