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Ecclestone not among final Nurburgring bidders?

17 February 2014

Bernie Ecclestone appears to have retracted his interest in buying the Nurburgring for a second time.

A month ago, the 83-year old appeared to have stepped up his interest in preserving the future of the historic circuit complex, citing a desire to ensure that Germany had a permanent home for F1. Now, however, the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper is reporting interest from three parties ahead of the final submission of bids today [Monday], with Ecclestone not amongst them.

The long-time F1 supremo's interest in saving the 'Ring has been on-off at best over the past year. Ecclestone, who faces bribery charges in Germany, first expressed an interest in buying the 'Ring complex last summer, when it appeared that bankruptcy proceedings could see the estate sold off to developers, but his ambition seemed to dissipate almost as soon as it became public. Last month, however, his name was back in the frame, after saying that he was confident of a quick response to a renewed bid.

"We have made an offer and now we wait to learn whether it will be accepted,” he told Handelsblatt in January, " There are one or two other interested parties, but we believe that we can do more for the race track than anyone else, [and] an agreement could be reached as soon as the next few weeks."

Those other 'interested parties' have now been revealed as Dusseldorf-based Capricorn and America investment company HIG, as well as another unnamed US-based private equity firm, but it remains to be seen whether they hold a similar desire to retain the Nurburgring as a race circuit. Capricorn and HIG are reported to be in favour of retaining the track facilities for their current use, but are less convinced by the 'white elephant' amusement park that contributed to the 'Ring's financial downfall.

Other suggestions have claimed that the Eifel venue could be turned into a development centre for major motor manufacturers or handed over to developers, but the receivers have said that they will not sell at any price, opening the possibility of the bidding process being extended should this first round not meet expectation.


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