Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that he may be prepared to step in and buy the Nurburgring complex, potentially saving the historic Nordschliefe from extinction.
With its operating company having been declared bankrupt, the future of the famous old venue remains in limbo, despite its standing as possibly the greatest circuit of all time. Various campaigns have been set up in an effort to preserve the Nurburgring – with the two Russian Time GP2 entries giving over their bodywork to promote the 'Save the 'Ring' cause – but Ecclestone's hint maybe the biggest reason for optimism yet.
“I understand you want to sell the Nurburgring - it's quite possible that I'll buy it,” he told German newspaper Die Welt
, “At least, I'd think about it. If I do that, it would mean that the Grand Prix of Germany is secured in the future.”
However, despite having injected the necessary funds to ensure that this year's grand prix went ahead after neither the 'Ring or Hockenheim was able to afford to run the event – 'that was good for the Nurburgring and bad for my business' – Ecclestone admitted that any potential purchase of the Eifel venue would not mean that the event was tied to the circuit.
“Of course, we would take into account the existing contracts with the Hockenheimring,” he insisted, “I think the race would [continue to] alternate between the two locations. The decision [to buy the Nurburgring] could come in a few months but, nevertheless, the Grand Prix of Germany would be held next year at Hockenheim. As I said, there are binding contracts which I will keep. What's next after that, we'll see....”
Ecclestone, who remains the subject of legal investigations in Germany, is not short of venues that could potentially replace the country on the calendar, confirming that he continues to entertain plans to run further races in the USA - in Long Beach and in front of the skyline of New York – as well as in Thailand and 'if everything goes according to plan, in Baku'.
The Azerbaijani capital, previously unmentioned as a potential F1 venue, currently stages at GT sportscar event around the city streets.