Hockenheim: Hosting an F1 race shouldn’t financially ruin us

Jaden Diaz
16 Apr, 2023

Organizers of the Hockenheimring circuit are enthusiastic about returning to the F1 calendar, but clear obstacles stand in the way.

Much like Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, the Hockenheim was one of the most popular events on the calendar. However, the German and Malaysian venues share the same dilemma that stalls their chances of a comeback.

The most recent German GP in 2019 is widely regarded as a classic by fans, demonstrating the close racing and unpredictability that defined the circuit.

Unfortunately for Hockenheim, a lack of financial support prevented it from achieving a new contract and preserving its place on the F1 schedule.

Formula 1 is already at the 24-race limit of the Concorde agreement (assuming the Chinese GP returns next year), which means there is limited space for the German GP to make a comeback.

Even if there were more than one calendar slot available (currently contested by South Africa and Belgium), Hockenheim does not seem high on the list of F1’s priorities.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 22: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari leads from Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing during the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 22, 2012 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Fernando Alonso; Sebastian Vettel // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI201412169193 // Usage for editorial use only //

But this is not due to any lack of interest from the circuit organisers, as managing director Jorn Teske has explained in an interview:

“We really want Formula 1 to come back to Germany. We know how important the pinnacle of motorsport is for a racetrack and also for the entire region,” he told Sport1.

“We know that we owe our global reputation to Formula 1, and we are doing everything we can to ensure there is a comeback. 

“But we stand by our opinion that a Formula 1 race shouldn’t [financially] ruin us.”

As outlined by Teske, the benefits of hosting an F1 race mean that Hockenheim is willing to make some sacrifices in negotiations with Formula 1.

However, although organizers are willing to break even or make a small loss for the sake of making an F1 return, the financial implications are far more extreme than this:

“We’ve also said in the past it’s not all about making a lot of money from Formula 1. We just don’t want to lose money.

“If we find ways together to ensure that, or if someone can take away that risk from us, then there is nothing to stop us from continuing to work on the details.” 

In short, like many other venues, Hockenheim cannot afford a place on the calendar.

Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia.
Saturday 30 September 2017.
Romain Grosjean, Haas VF-17.
World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _R3I4026

There has been optimism the situation could change, with Audi’s entry in 2026 representing an added incentive for a country with such a rich history in motorsport to have a Grand Prix.

Audi has discussed the importance of the German GP making a return on numerous occasions, so it is likely Hockenheim will again be discussed more intensely in an F1 context.

The loss of free-to-air F1 broadcasts from RTL (in addition to Sebastian Vettel’s departure) are two other significant losses for Germany in F1.

It would be a stretch to say that interest in the sport has completely collapsed, but a variety of factors have undoubtedly reduced Formula 1’s accessibility.

Nico Hulkenberg’s participation should not be discounted, but speaking from a broader perspective, the situation is far from positive.

At least for the short-term, Hockenheim seems unlikely to feature again in the pinnacle of motorsport.

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