Ecclestone Says F1 Will Race In Germany In '13, Nürburgring Still First Option
The owner of Germany's Nürburgring racetrack said that the popular F1 venue "could still host the German Grand Prix next year despite uncertainty linked to the track's insolvency," according to Burger & Hübner of REUTERS. The current operator NAG, which has leased the facilities from the owner, is in talks with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to "secure the race and keep him from awarding the July event to Hockenheim, which alternates each year with its rival." Nürburgring GmbH Managing Dir Thomas Schmidt said, "If the issue over whether there will be a Formula One race at Nürburgring in 2013 is sorted out by year-end, that would still be early enough." The Nürburgring GmbH "ran into finacial trouble amid a dispute with operator NAG over leasing fees." Schmidt, who runs the company with an insolvency administrator, said he had met with Ecclestone in London, "but only to get to know one another." NAG, owned by hotelier Joerg Lindner and real estate investor Kai Richter, "for now remains at the negotiation table" with Ecclestone (REUTERS, 11/18). The DPA reported F1 "will race in Germany next year despite the crisis at the Nürburgring." Ecclestone said, "We do not want and will not lose the race in Germany, for sure." The first option as a host venue is still the Nürburgring (DPA, 11/16).
TWO IN INDIA? PIT PASS reported Ecclestone "has been in talks about hosting a second Indian Grand Prix to improve the sport's chances of gaining a foothold in such a large country." India's population of 1.2 billion makes it the world's second-most populous country after China. However, whilst China's interest in F1 has not run much deeper than its Grand Prix, India "had fielded two drivers and a team before it even had a race." The Indian Grand Prix is only in its second year, and like many new races it has seen declining attendance. Ironically, its fortunes "could be boosted by there being another race in the country." Last month Ecclestone admitted that "a second race in India is a possibility." He said, "There's one or two places I have had a word with which could work." However, Ecclestone added that a second race "will only get the green light if attendance at the first race does not continue to decline" (PIT PASS, 11/18).