25 March 2015
'We’ll be back in Germany', says Gastaldi
The German Grand Prix may have been officially removed from the 2015 F1 schedule, but Lotus' Federico Gastaldi is confident it will return.
Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi believes that the German Grand Prix will return to the F1 calendar, despite being unable to fulfil its obligations this year.
The World Motor Sport Council officially confirmed that promoters had not been able to reach an agreement over holding the event at the Hockenheimring in July, after original host the Nurburgring confirmed late last year that it would not be able to commit to staging the grand prix as part of the rotation system that had been in place for several years.
With the Hockenheimring's new owners struggling to reach an agreement with the sport's commercial rights holders on a deal to host a 'replacement' event this summer, the race was officially scratched this weekend. While it means a break in the run of German grands prix that stretches back to 1960, no decision has been made on the 2016 event, due to be staged at Hockenheim as per the alternating venue arrangement, and Gastaldi remains confident that the event will be back on the schedule.
“It's not looking promising for this year, but I'm sure we'll be back in 2016,” the Italian insisted, “It is, of course, a shame for everyone, especially all the German fans who wanted to come see F1, but these things happen sometimes in the commercial world. For the team we know we have 19 races - 20 races makes for a long season so we still have a pretty full season even if one race is dropped.”
On a more positive note, Gastaldi was full of praise for last weekend's Australian Grand Prix – even if the action on track failed to live up to expectation.
“On many levels, the event delivered spectacularly,” he claimed, “The crowds were fantastic, the organisation was exemplary and it's a pleasure to start the season in Melbourne.
“The official ticket sales information say that there were 101,500 spectators on Sunday, which is a very impressive rise compared to last year's sales. F1 is back on track and we must all say 'thanks a million' to Ron Walker for a magnificent job done from you and your fantastic team through 20 great races. F1 will miss your exemplary personality and entrepreneurship enthusiasm!”
Seeing Mercedes romp away with the race cast a sense of foreboding over the F1 paddock, but Gastaldi maintains that there will be no conceding the fight just yet.
“In terms of this year's track action, we can't say that it was a classic race, and not only because our cars weren't involved in most of it!” he reflected, “That said, you never know what might happen in the first race of the season. There were some good battles down the field and some very good debuts from new drivers. It's clear all of us have some work to do to take the battle to Mercedes, but that's what we're all working hard for.”
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