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German GP: Nurburgring deal 'done'

After weeks of confusion and indecision, the latest reports on Thursday say that the German GP deal is signed and the race will definitely be held at the Nurburgring in July.
Another day, another change of fortune for the German Grand Prix and its prospects of going ahead at the Nurburgring in July.

After reports on Wednesday suggesting that negotiations between the organisers and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had broken down over financial and legal issues, reports overnight suggested that the contract had finally gone through and on Thursday morning Reuters confirmed that the deal had indeed been done.

The overnight reports came from German newspaper Rhein-Zeitung, which stated that Ecclestone had agreed terms with Karl-Josef Schmidt, chief of the Nurburgring facility, on Wednesday.

The Bild German-language tabloid had additional confirmation of the deal from government sources in Mainz overnight, and on Thursday morning Reuters confirmed it with a statement from Ecclestone.

"In view of its long tradition, I was glad to support choosing the Nurburgring as the venue for the F1," said the 82-year-old commercial rights owner. "I treasure the Nurburgring and its history."

The Nurburgring alternates hosting of the German Grand Prix with Hockenheim, but doubts about whether it would hold the 2013 event arose when Nurburgring GmbH ran into deep financial difficulties last year.

The circuit is 90 per cent owned by the German regional state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and hit problems after a dispute with track operator NAG over leasing fees. Local politics also played a role, with voters wanting the state to stop subsidising the facility through local taxes, meaning there was pressure to reduce the Grand Prix license fees owed to Ecclestone for hosting the F1 race.

It's thought that Ecclestone refused to budge on the issue, and that he's finally got his way this week.

The news confirms that the race will now definitely go ahead on July 7, although some reports suggested that there was still doubt over whether it will actually be called the German Grand Prix or whether it will now be the latest incarnation of the European Grand Prix.

The street race in Valencia held that title until 2012, but with the Spanish event's departure from the 2013 F1 season there is a chance that the Nurburgring race will be given the name instead.

Reports said that a news conference to confirm all the details will take place shortly, possibly as early as later today (Thursday, January 31.)

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James Montgomery

January 31, 2013 12:41 PM

Well I'm glad to see there will be a German GP. But I do agree with Taz, the money talks are so expensive now that it is crippling everyone, not just the venues. We have already seen that with the amount of pay drivers being chosen this year. It has to stop at some point, but when?

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