German GP looking for revised F1 deal

Hockenheim

The future of the German Grand Prix is again in question as organisers near the end of their current deal with Formula 1.

Hockenheim currently hosts the event as part of an alternating arrangement with Nurburgring, however the latter has not hosted a race since 2013 meaning there was no German Grand Prix in 2015 or 2017.

This year’s event marks the last under the existing arrangement, with circuit officials saying that the venue cannot continue hosting the event on the same terms.

“We’re aiming to host a GP in the future, and we’d like to have it in the future, but the key point is we cannot prolong under current conditions,” said Jorn Teske, Hockenheim’s marketing director.

“We would like to have a contract which will take the risk from us, this is the basic point.

“We are not speaking about the fee, we are speaking about a new contract where we definitely have no risk.

“We have a circuit which does not receive any financial support from anybody, neither from the state nor from the region nor from economic companies, so we have to make and manage everything for ourselves.

“We had some losses in the past. We had a 10-year contract, and we fulfilled this contract, even though we had some better and some worse years.

“Now’s the time that we cannot continue in the same way. We would be very, very happy to have F1 in Germany, not only for us, but especially for the fans. But we have to change the basics.”

Traditionally, promoters have paid handsomely for the right to host a grand prix, with a cost accelerator built in to most deals negotiated by Bernie Ecclestone.

F1 also receives rights to trackside advertising and corporate hospitality, leaving promoters with little more than ticket sales as a means to recoup the substantial hosting fee.

It’s a model which has seen a number of events disappear as promoters fail to turn a profit, with others relying on heavy subsidies, typically from the government.

However, Teske suggests a revised approach.

“We are always talking about fees, and then we were asked ‘how much fee would you pay to host the race?’

“This is not our question, because we think we should restructure the business model.

“This could be a track rental, or it could be a sharing of ticket income, and sharing of costs.

“So this is now a question of the negotiations, how it could end up. But there are many models which could work without risk.

“No fee, or a basic fee, just earning the costs, and then sharing the ticket income.

“We presented our ideas, we presented the figures, very transparent, very clear, in the details, and now they have to think about it.

“But it’s not that easy because it’s a financial decision they have to take. Do they take the big money? Then we’re out.

“Or do they believe in the importance of the traditional race tracks, and an important automotive country, in Germany?”

The German Grand Prix is regarded as one of the traditional events on the F1 calendar, having hosted at least a non-championship race in all but three seasons since 1950.

Hockenheim first hosted the German Grand Prix in 1970, with this year’s event, to be held on July 20-22, the 36th time it will be held at the circuit.

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