Nurburgring to host 2013 F1 race?

Nurburgring officials have reached an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to host the German grand prix as scheduled in July – that is the claim of the German newspapers Allgemeine Zeitung and Rhein Zeitung, following a long-running ‘on again, off again’ saga surrounding the fortunes of the financially beleaguered Nurburgring.

Mere hours before the latest reports, which were confirmed by Rhineland-Palatinate state spokeswoman Monika Fuhr, F1 chief executive Ecclestone had admitted the Nurburgring’s future was still clouded.

“It’s all a bit messy,” he was quoted by the Daily Mail. “At the moment the race is on, off, on, off, but we’re doing our best to get it sorted.”

SID news agency said a race will definitely be held at the Nurburgring in July, although “it is unclear whether it will be (called) the German or the European grand prix”.

“It’s all a little bit political,” said Ecclestone, referring to the naming dispute between the Nurburgring-linked body AvD, and ADAC, a rival Hockenheim-linked German automobile club.

One report said ADAC had even submitted a proposal to host the race at the Nurburgring.

“It’s all a bit messy with different political groups fighting each other,” said Ecclestone.

SID reported that the news about the Nurburgring’s July 7 race will be announced at a press conference on Thursday.

Kolner Express newspaper said “government sources” had confirmed the media reports.

“This is good news for the region,” said state spokeswoman Fuhr.


Ecclestone doing his ‘best’ to save German GP

Bernie Ecclestone has not given up on F1’s scheduled return to the Nurburgring in 2013.

The financially-embattled venue is scheduled to host the July race, but it is also possible Hockenheim could step in at the last minute.

“I am doing my best to make sure we do not lose formula one in Germany,” Ecclestone, 82, is quoted by the Allgemeine Zeitung.

The newspaper said it knows negotiations are still taking place between Ecclestone and Nurburgring officials, but that a deal is not yet signed.

“Whether he (Ecclestone) will sign in the coming days, he did not say,” the media report explained.

Nurburgring official Karl-Heinz Steinkuhler would not comment.


Nurburgring confident of 2013 German GP

Nurburgring officials say they were “confident” after meeting late last week in London with Bernie Ecclestone.

Earlier, it was believed the circuit’s hopes of organising next year’s German grand prix had been dashed by financial problems and a breakdown in talks. But, back at the circuit on Friday, officials Jorg Lindner and Kai Richter said their Thursday meeting with F1 chief executive Ecclestone had left them feeling “confident”, according to the German language Spox.

The report said the final calendar for the 2013 season will be published by F1’s governing body this week.


2013 Hockenheim race ‘problematic’ – mayor Gummer

It is possible Germany will fall off the 2013 F1 calendar altogether.

This week, it has emerged that – at the circuit’s own admission – the financially-crippled Nurburgring will almost certainly not host the German grand prix as scheduled mid next year. Hockenheim has been named as a possible alternative, and it was believed that talks between circuit officials and Bernie Ecclestone had been underway for some time.

But the city’s mayor Dieter Gummer told DPA news agency: “It is the case that we are in constant contact but it has never led to negotiations on a formula one event in Hockenheim in 2013.

“Before a grand prix in Germany goes we would in any case be prepared to talk, but in every case the priority is Nurburgring,” he added.

Gummer said organising a 2013 race at Hockenheim would be “certainly problematic”, as preparations for a grand prix usually begin “at the completion of the previous event”.


Circuit says ‘no more F1’ at the Nurburgring

The Nurburgring’s chances of staging the German grand prix as scheduled next year have receded yet further.

Bernie Ecclestone was already in talks with Hockenheim about replacing the mid-July event next year, while the crisis-struck Nurburgring is grappling with an insolvency process. Still, there was a chance the Nurburging would pull through.

However, multiple German reports – including in the daily Rhein and Allgemeine newspapers – have now revealed that negotiations between the existing management and the managers of the insolvency have broken down. A circuit spokesman confirmed to the DPA news agency that there will indeed be “no more formula one” at the Nurburgring, as talks with Bernie Ecclestone had also ended.

But Pietro Nuvolini, the spokesman for the financial recovery experts in charge of the Nurburgring situation, insisted: “If the tenants want to return to the negotiating table, our door is not closed.”


Ecclestone: Nurburgring not on 2013 F1 calendar yet

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.

Hockenheim ready for 2013 in case of Nurburgring demise

Hockenheim is ready to step in at short notice should the Nurburgring be unable to organise next year’s German grand prix.

The Nurburgring has been given only a conditional date on the draft 2013 schedule, due to the circuit’s well-documented financial problems. According to the alternating scheme in place between Germany’s two grand prix hosts, Hockenheim – having hosted this year’s race in the country – is not officially scheduled to return to the calendar until 2014.

But with the Nurburgring grappling with its financial problems, Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler said he is open to thinking about a 2013 event “in the right financial conditions”.

“At the moment, we wait,” he is quoted by the DAPD news agency. “Should there be a request, we would consider it.”

Seiler said he hopes the Nurburgring’s race can survive.

“It would be a real shame for them, in their difficult situation, to lose the grand prix,” he nobly said.


Vettel denies calling Hamilton ‘stupid’

Sebastian Vettel has denied calling Lewis Hamilton stupid.

After last weekend’s German grand prix, the Red Bull driver hit out at McLaren driver Hamilton’s decision to overtake him despite being a lap down.

“It’s a bit stupid to disturb the leaders,” the official FIA transcript of the post-race press conference quotes Vettel as saying at Hockenheim.

But world champion Vettel insisted in Budapest on Thursday: “I didn’t say it was a stupid decision. If I say after the race that I think it was unnecessary and then it gets quoted that I said he is stupid, it is quite disappointing.”


Sauber slams ‘Friday parc ferme’ proposal

Sauber has rejected claims that expanding F1’s ‘parc ferme’ rule could drive down costs.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that one cost-cutting suggestion from a top team is that mechanics and engineers be forbidden from working on the cars on a Friday outside of the 180-minute practice period. The apparent logic is that, just as no work is allowed in the ‘parc ferme’ period between qualifying and the race, the extended rule could reduce the size of the teams’ race teams from 60 to 50 people.

But Auto Motor und Sport claims the small teams have rubbished the idea, claiming they vitally need Fridays to test new parts and do not enjoy all the high-tech simulation facilities that the bigger teams have back at base. And Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder suggested the plan isn’t even necessary.

“We were at Hockenheim with 47 people, and tested quite normally,” he said. “I don’t know why the big teams need 60 people.”

Auto Motor und Sport also revealed that proposals to designate Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus and Williams as the exclusive suppliers of ‘customer cars’ to the rest of the field is now definitely dead. The report said that because some of the smaller teams threatened to take the proposal to European court, the new Concorde Agreement will continue to disallow the sale of the monocoque, suspension, nose and other fundamental areas of the cars.


German spectators losing interest in Formula One?

German journalist Michael Schmidt has expressed concern about the half-empty grandstands at Hockenheim last weekend.

In Auto Motor und Sport, he said he was “surprised” by the “lack of interest” in the German grand prix amid the fascinating 2012 season. Indeed, Germans have seldom had more to cheer about in F1, with the grid boasting legend Michael Schumacher, the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, three other race drivers and the Stuttgart marque Mercedes.

But only 38,000 spectators attended on Friday, 50,000 for qualifying and 62,000 for Sunday’s race. In 2005 there were 110,000 spectators on the Sunday, declining to 78,000 in 2008 and 65,000 two years ago.

“Certainly, the ticket prices are extremely high and the financial crisis has an effect, but isn’t this also true in England and Spain?” wrote Schmidt.

Indeed, in crisis-gripped Spain, 82,000 spectators turned out to watch Fernando Alonso in May.

Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler said the attendance figures for this year’s race has allowed the circuit to break even.