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Ecclestone 'open to negotiation' on Nurburgring future
24 July 2011
Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that he cannot conceive of the Nurburgring without F1, but insists that a deal will have to be struck to keep the top flight heading to the Eifel region.
Despite Sebastian Vettel's world championship success in 2010, F1 audiences in Germany struggle to reach the sort of levels seen during Michael Schumacher's heyday, and both the Nurburgring and Hockenheim have said that they cannot afford to keep hosting the grand prix without some sort of financial boost. The two venues now alternate staging the race, but there are rumours that Germany could even alternate a calendar spot with other cash-strapped hosts such as Belgium.
Despite the new local coalition government having said that it will no longer support the Nurburgring's position on the calendar, Ecclestone has said that he would do his best to ensure that the iconic venue remains.
"I am very optimistic that F1 will continue as always at the Nurburgring," he told Germany's Rhein-Zeitung
newspaper, "I will try my best so that we can stay here. The last thing we want is not to come here."
Letting slip that he had 'invested a lot personally in this race', Ecclestone said that he would willing to talk to the various parties needed to secure a new deal for the Nurburgring, but dismissed suggestions that concessions had already been promised to the venue.
"How can I give a discount if there is no agreement?" he grimaced, "No-one has come to talk to me from the government, but I am sure we will think of something. Of course, I am open to negotiations, and "I am ready to make the same contract here as we have in Hungary."
Circuit boss Karl Josef Schmidt already has history of negotiating with Ecclestone, having secured a discounted deal for Hockenheim, but the Briton admits that he is wary of giving too many allowances for fear that other circuits will begin to expect the same. He is also aware that money that could be paid by the circuit for the race is being swallowed up elsewhere on the impressive venue.
"It is disappointing, but [Germany] would have a lot more to pay than Hungary. This is a good contract," he insisted, "The problem is when F1 brings money in and the money is lost by the others. "
The 2012 race is the last included in the current contract between Ecclestone and the Nurburgring, and Schmidt insists that talks will begin soon to extend the circuit's stay on the schedule, albeit still alternating with Hockenheim.