Hockenheim and Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday denied responsibility for the demise of the historic German grand prix.
The Nurburgring was scheduled to host this year’s July 19 race, but confusion regarding the ownership of the fabled track moved Ecclestone to observe in January: “It can’t be Nurburgring because there’s nobody there”.
Talks, then, kicked off with Hockenheim about stepping in at short notice, even though the circuit is only contractually obliged every other year.
“Someone had to be willing to bear the financial risk,” Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler was quoted on Wednesday by Germany’s Sport Bild.
“As a medium-sized company, we could not. The decision as to the grand prix taking place this year was not our responsibility,” Seiler insisted.
In the end, Hockenheim offered the use of the track and would have allowed Ecclestone, F1’s chief executive, to collect the ticket revenue.
Mercedes-Benz even stepped in, reportedly offering to cover half of any financial loss and even promote its home race.
Seiler said: “We offered ourselves as the replacement (for the Nurburgring), but obviously not with any financial risk to ourselves. As a company we cannot be gambling.”
He and Ecclestone, however, could not agree.
“We do not sell tickets,” Ecclestone, 84, was quoted by Sport Bild. “The organiser must ensure that it has enough money.”
Former German F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen thinks the main problem is the declining interest in the sport, due to the deterioration of the ‘show’.
“The cars are now much easier to drive than before,” he said, “and the viewers can see that as well.
“Today, even a skateboarder with a helmet camera can give you more exciting images that some formula one races,” added Frentzen. (GMM)