German GP in doubt for 2010 season

The German Grand Prix's place on the 2010 Formula 1 calendar has been thrown into doubt after the Nurburgring said it would not step into the breach if Hockenheim cannot hold the event

German GP in doubt for 2010 season

Nurburgring and Hockenheim have arranged a share deal by which they host the event on alternate years in a bid to minimise expenditure and maximise the returns from spectators.

However, Hockenheim officials are struggling to find the resources needed to hold the 2010 race, with the circuit's local city and state officials refusing to bankroll the grand prix any more.

Talks between Gunther Oettinger, the prime minister of Baden-Wurttemberg, and Bernie Ecclestone scheduled for last weekend to try and renegotiate the race fee for Hockenheim next year were cancelled in the wake of the recent Adolf Hitler controversy.

With doubts about the future of the race there, and last weekend's German GP being a success, there had been some hope that if Hockenheim fails to secure a deal then the Nurburgring could replace it.

However, Nurburgring's managing director Walter Kafitz has made it clear that his track was not in the running to hold a race in 2010.

"Definitely we are not available for next year, we are planning only for 2011," Kafitz told AUTOSPORT, before suggesting that only a reduction in the race fee would change his track's stance.

"Bernie could manage it [by reducing the fee], but I cannot imagine that he is willing to accept my wish."

Despite his stance about Nurburgring's future, Kafitz remained hopeful that a solution could be found to keep the German GP on the calendar - even though the situation is far from certain.

"I can't imagine having no F1 year in Germany," he explained. "I am very optimistic that we get Germany a solution for every year."

Kafitz has also vowed to look into the traffic problems that marred the build-up to last weekend's race, with some fans spending hours getting into the track on the Sunday morning.

"We must reconsider the situation after the race but the opposite [of bad traffic] is even worse," he said. "To come here very rapidly and have no spectators, that would be a nightmare for me. What we have to think is how can we improve the traffic next time, and I think every plan has a solution."

Kafitz said there were 100,000 spectators on race day, a 15 per cent rise from its 2006 race and a 5 per cent increase over its last race in 2007.

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