16 November 2012
Ecclestone insists German GP will survive
Bernie Ecclestone has shrugged off rumours surrounding the future of the German Grand Prix to insist that it will remain on next year's calendar.
While losing a race in Europe to 'natural causes' would help shoehorn in another either in the USA or one of the other countries clamouring for a spot on the F1 schedule, Bernie Ecclestone is confident that the German Grand Prix will feature on next year's schedule.
Even as he was telling journalists at the inaugural USGP at the Circuit of the Americas that he was keen to add a third race in the States, Ecclestone was batting off rumours that there may be no German round in 2013.
The stories began after the Nurburgring, which is due to host the race next year as part of its alternating agreement with Hockenheim, admitted that it will not be in position to do so, following the collapse of talks between circuit managers and insolvency experts hoping to rescue its parlous financial position. According to reports in the Rhein Zeitung newspaper, both parties hoped to have reached a positive outcome by the end of the month but, even though negotiations have resumed, the circuit has effectively removed itself from contention for an F1 race.
Given that the 'Ring and Hockenheim had entered their race-sharing agreement because neither could afford to play host to the F1 circus on an annual basis, doubts over the viability of the race for 2013 are obvious. Ecclestone, aware of the issues at the Nurburgring, has apparently been talking to representatives from Hockenheim for some time, but the city's mayor, Dieter Gummer, insists that no deal has been reached - and would not be until the 'Ring was ruled out once and for all.
"It is the case that we are in constant contact, but it has never led to negotiations on an F1 event in 2013," he told Germany's DPA news agency, "Organising a race in 2013 would be problematic, as preparations usually begin at the end of the previous race [in July], but we would be prepared to talk before the German Grand Prix disappears. However, in every case, the priority [for staging the 2013 race] lies with the Nurburgring."
Ecclestone has also dismissed suggestions that the race would be allowed to disappear from the calendar, telling the SID news agency that 'for sure, we will be in Germany in 2013'.
"We do not want to - and will not - lose the race in Germany," the Briton insisted.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is also hopeful that a deal can be worked out, although his preference would be for the race to take place according to its usual schedule.
"It's a shame," he admitted, as he prepared for the USGP weekend, "The Nürburgring is a household name in Germany, and it is important to keep the Grand Prix there. It should not be allowed to die out."
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