The German Grand Prix will almost certainly be absent from the Formula One calendar this year for the first time since 1960, autosport.com has learned, following a dispute over naming rights.
Germany's current F1 circuits, the Nurburgring and Hockenheim, have agreed to alternate their race for the foreseeable future after it was felt the country hosting two races each year was hurting profits at both venues.
It was felt that if the country only had one race, then the host each year would be able to attract a big audience and more financial investment, which would better justify the high race fees that are paid to Bernie Ecclestone.
After months of negotiations throughout 2006, it was eventually agreed that the Nurburgring will host Germany's race this year on July 22, with Hockenheim holding it in 2008.
But although putting together a deal to alternate the race was not a problem, a power struggle between Germany's two motor racing clubs makes it likely that the Nurburgring race this year will not be able to run under the title of the 'German Grand Prix.'
That is the because the 'German GP' race title is held by the Automobil Club of Germany (AvD), and they have been reluctant to relinquish it easily to their rival club ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobilclub) who have close ties with the Nurburgring.
Sources have revealed that the two parties are at a complete dead lock in their negotiations over the matter, and only a last-minute compromise deal now looks likely to allow the Nurburgring race to be run as the German GP.
In fact, Nurburgring has now gone quite a way down the line of confirming their race as the 'European Grand Prix' instead - a title they have held since they started hosting Germany's second race.
Interestingly, the Nurburgring race in July is already now being referred to as the Grand Prix of Europe in official FIA documentation.
The German Grand Prix has only been absent from the calendar in three years since the world championship started. In the inaugural 1950 campaign, in 1955, and in 1960.