Hockenheim versus Nurburgring heats up

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Nurburgring F1 future assured?

Hockenheim’s Formula 1 future is up in the air, despite the fact that the circuit has a contract with Bernie Ecclestone until 2018, whereby it annually alternates the German Grand Prix with the Nurburgring.

But Formula 1 supremo Ecclestone and the Nurburgring on Tuesday announced they are close to agreeing a new deal to stage the German Grand Prix every year between 2015 and 2019 at the Nurburgring. Hockenheim management figures are furious.

“We have a contract, and it has no exit clause,” Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper. “The fact is that we will have a Grand Prix at Hockenheim in 2016 and 2018. Everything else is speculation.”

However, Ecclestone said earlier that Hockenheim’s contract is based on “special conditions” that would be void if the Nurburgring enters the fray with better terms.

The 83-year-old Briton insists that “it is only fair”.

“The same applies to Hockenheim as well,” Ecclestone told Auto Motor und Sport. “We could reach a new contract with them, on the same conditions that we have with other people.”

The Nurburgring on Wednesday did not want to weigh in on Hockenheim’s fury.

“We are not aware of the contractual details between Mr Ecclestone and the Hockenheimring,” said Carsten Schumacher, representing the Nurburgring’s new owners Capricorn.

“Therefore we can not judge and do not want to speculate on whether the race will take place in 2016 and 2018 at Hockenheim, or whether it would be possible for there to be two Formula 1 races in Germany,” he added.

Schumacher said that the Nurburgring had no choice but to issue the press release on Tuesday that so angered their Hockenheim counterparts.

“We had to respond,” he argued, “after it was reported in the media that a contract between [Capricorn chief] Robertino Wild and Bernie Ecclestone had been closed.” (GMM)