The Formula 1 calendar continues to be a problem and with viable proposals rather thin on the ground the series could end up with only 18 races as talks with the German GP promoters now seem to have stopped because they do not have the money to host an event. This may be political posturing by the Formula One group because in recent days a new Minister-President has been elected to replace Kurt Beck, who had been in power for 18 years and had long been a supporter of the event. The new Minister-President is Malu Dreyer, who heads a Social Democrat (SPD) and Green coalition. The next elections are not due until 2016 but Beck ran into trouble over funding of the Nurburgring, which has cost the state hundreds of millions of Euros. He stood down, citing poor health.
The track is 90-percent owned by the state – with a local municipality holding the remaining shares – but the operation is sub-contracted to an independent company, led by Kai Richter and Jörg Lindner.
It is an odd state of affairs given that Germany has Sebastian Vettel at the very top of the sport.
There is still muttering that Hockenheim might take over the race but there is no money and no apparent desire for that to happen.
If the German GP does not happen there will be a very quiet period in F1 this summer with the British GP on June 30 (three weeks after Canada) and then nothing until the Hungarian GP a month later. There would then another month before the Belgian GP.
There has been much talk of Turkey, France, Austria and even Portugal but none of these seems to have a workable project for 2013. With two new races in 2014 there is no point in most venues investing for a one-off race.
The apparent inability of the Formula One group to find a solution to the problem (at least at the moment) is bound to lead to questions about whether (finally) the business model being used is no longer viable in a Europe where money is tight. There remain events in Spain, Monaco, Britain, Hungary, Belgium and Italy, but several of these races are struggling, although the loss of Germany might help boost sales at Spa, which is located only 60 miles to the west of the Nurburgring, but across the Belgian border.
In the long term the Formula One group seems to believe that having six events in Europe is about right, with a similar number in Asia, a couple in the Middle East and the remaining events in the Americas.