Every year there are races which are at risk from dropping off of the F1 calendar, and this time Bernie Ecclestone has decided that Hockenheim and Interlagos are the two which are under threat for 2017.
The German Grand Prix has been on weak footing for a while. The country used to hold two Grands Prix a year, but to save on costs it was decided in 2007 that Hockenheim and the Nurburgring would alternate. The Nurburgring seems to have completely fallen by the wayside and hasn’t held an F1 race since 2013, while Hockenheim continually struggles to reach an ‘agreement’ with Bernie – and by agreement, we all know he means they won’t pay enough.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Bernie said: “They’re saying, or I think they’re saying, ‘we’d be prepared to continue with the same terms and conditions that we’ve had for the last two or three years’. Which are no good for us.” Well, if it’s no good for you…
Ok, so the crowd this year was pretty low, but Germany is one of the oldest races on the calendar and surely a must-have race, especially given the recent success for German teams and drivers in the sport. It’s not particularly surprising though given that there hasn’t been a French Grand Prix since 2008, and they literally invented Grand Prix racing.
Brazil on the other hand…how on earth should that be under threat?! The fans are awesome, the Interlagos circuit is a challenge that the drivers love, not to mention the history Brazil has with F1.
Bernie reckons that the race promoters struggle to make a profit and that the government are unlikely to step in and stump up some extra cash because they’ve already spent lots of money on other sporting events, like the Rio Olympics. Here’s an idea – why not leave the cost of hosting the race as it is? Problem solved!
While Hockenheim might genuinely be lost, the timing of his comments on Interlagos during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend leaves a little hope that it’s all just a bargaining tactic. Surely it’ll stay for next season…won’t it?
There was some consolation however as he admitted that the Canadian Grand Prix, which also had a question mark over it, had been more-or-less sorted out.
The F1 calendar for 2017 will be finalised at a WMSC meeting at the end of the month, which Bernie says is the final deadline for Germany and Brazil to reach an agreement. Sigh. Why can’t the likes of $ochi and Ya$ Marina be the ones under threat?