8 August 2012
Nurburgring needs fee reduction to host 2013 grand prix
Nurburgring officials insist that there will be no German GP in the Eifel region without a cut in its annual hosting fee.
Despite signs that help may be forthcoming in order to ensure that the financially-beleaguered Nurburgring could take its turn to host the German Grand Prix in 2013, circuit officials have warned that it is more likely to forfeit its position on the schedule.
Less than a week ago, the Rheinland-Palatinate regional parliament appeared to have come to the circuit's rescue after its budget committee approved a €254m loan guarantee, which would allow the 'Ring to continue operating while servicing its existing debt. The legendary venue was on the verge of administration after the European Union's refused a bail-out that would have pulled it back from the brink of financial disaster brought about by an ambitious plan to combine the circuit as part of a wider motorsport-based theme park.
That, of course, would have been good news for next year's German Grand Prix, which is due to return to the Eifel region as part of the existing date share with Hockenheim, which hosted this year's event just a matter of weeks ago. However, circuit officials at the 'Ring insist that, despite the bail-out, the venue still cannot afford to stage the race while hosting fees remain as high as they are.
Ironically, the Nurburging's plight comes despite Bernie Ecclestone and FOM having agreed to reduce the amount it pays to host the race on its biennial basis. Ecclestone admits that the German race, which first joined the world championship in 1951 and has been a staple almost ever since, should not be lost from the schedules, but has not offered any alternative terms.
Although Nurburgring Automotive's Jorg Lindner claimed that 'F1 will be going to the Nurburgring next year', the circuit's development chief, Thomas Schmidt, held a more pessimistic view.
"If Ecclestone accepts an offer without this typical fee, we can certainly keep F1," he told Germany's DPA news agency, "If not, we simply don't have the money."
Schmidt suggested, however, that keeping the grand prix was not essential to the long-term survival of the 'Ring, which continues to host less globally-recognised events on both its old and new layouts. The fate of the 2013 German round, however, is less certain, with Hockenheim having entered the current agreement with its rival because it could not afford to stage the race on an annual basis. The 2012 host has been sounded out about stepping into the breach next season, but has yet to commit one way or another.
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