8 July 2013
German Grand Prix: Nurburgring interests more would-be rescuers
Bernie Ecclestone may have cooled his interest, but a raft of high-profile names have been rumoured as potential buyers for the financially-floundering Nurburgring.
While stories linking F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to the potential purchase of the Nurburgring already appear dated, it would seem that the struggling German venue is not short of suitors willing to save it from extinction.
With sections of the German press suggesting that Ecclestone's interest in buying the Nurburgring complex – which includes the historic Nordschleife – has cooled less than 48 hours after it was initially reported, both the Kolner Express and Bild newspapers have revealed that Red Bull team owner - and A1 Ring proprietor – Dietrich Mateschitz has expressed an interest in mounting a potential rescue bid.
The Austrian, whose team currently leads both the constructors' and drivers' standings after taking four wins in nine rounds – including Sunday's German GP at the Nurburgring – may face opposition from a couple more rumoured rescuers – German automobile club ADAC and, more surprisingly, current track boss Jorg Linder.
Ecclestone, meanwhile, appears to have performed a swift u-turn on his declaration of interest, despite acknowledging that buying the circuit would at least secure the future of the German Grand Prix. The 82-year already has circuit investments at Paul Ricard and Istanbul Park, and has helped bail out various events, including the Belgian Grand Prix, during his long tenure at the head of F1. Less than two days after reports claiming he would be interested in buying the venue, however, Ecclestone has apparently said that such an investment would 'not be practical'.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its place on the F1 schedule – where it alternates with Hockenheim – the Nurburgring ran into serious financial trouble when plans to build a motorsport theme park alongside the circuit proved to be €350m bust when private investment did not materialise, leaving funds to be drawn from the public purse. While the loans were forthcoming in the interests of securing promised jobs and income for the Eifel region, the project failed on a business level, leaving the circuit with massive debts. It is currently listed as bankrupt and could be sold off to developers, pending the arrival of a white knight.
All bids to buy the venue must be lodged by September, giving prospective purchasers just over six weeks to make up their minds.
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