As Formula 1 heads into the heart of Europe this weekend, the rumors of a possible exclusive deal with the Nurburgring has raised a few eyebrows…namely, the owners of Hockenheim.
The German Grand Prix now alternates between both Hockenheim and Nurburgring. This arrangement was due to the financial struggles both circuits faced and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone arranged a compromise situation allowing them to alternate the race.
However, the Nurburgring was recently purchased by the Capricorn Group and rumors in Auto Motor und Sport suggest they may be speaking with Ecclestone about hosting the German Grand Prix race exclusively for the next five years.
This has set the Hockenheim folks on edge but according to the article, Ecclestone says that his concessions to accommodate the circuit cannot go on forever. Further to that point, there may possibly be a performance or competition clause in the contract that suggests a legal exit should a competing circuit prove to be a higher bidder for the race.
In this case, Nurburgring may be offering F1 a better deal for exclusivity and this would allow F1 to back out of the Hockenheim contract in order to start a new contract in 2015 with Nurburgring.
There was one other interesting tidbit in that Ecclestone suggested that they offered Nurburgring a similar deal to Spa Francorchamps in which all tickets sales, traditionally held by the race promoters, is being given to Formula One Management in lieu of a high yearly sanctioning fee to host the race.
This, obviously, leaves very little revenue for race promoters and does beg the question of just how the circuit owners pay for the maintenance and improvement to even host the F1 race each year. One could assume State funding perhaps?
It’s a tangled web F1 weaves but before we get too concerned, let’s be thankful Germany is still hosting a race and that we aren’t seeing yet another race in Europe exit the calendar in favor of a new race in a remote corner of the world with little or no national interest in F1.