There have been reports in the German newspapers in the last couple of days which have crept onto the Web, suggesting that there is to be a five-year deal for the Nürburgring to host the German Grand Prix, starting in 2015. This would mean that the race would no longer be held at Hockenheim. There are a number of questions that need to be asked about this story, which first appeared in the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper. The report suggested that the Formula One group and Capricorn Nürburgring GmbH, the company that aims to take over the circuit after the restructuring process is completed, have agreed an exclusive five-year deal beginning in 2015.
Capricorn will not take over the running of the Ring until January 1 2015 and so in the meantime the circuit is being run by the receivers. Capricorn has the right to withdrew from the deal if the European Commission decides to take legal action against the circuit regarding unfair state aid. If the deal goes ahead as planned Capricorn boss Robertino Wild says that he intends to develop an automotive technology cluster around the circuit, getting rid of some of the theme park elements that were built. Capricorn is an unusual company in that it involves automotive engineering combined with property development. The transaction is believed to be worth more than $100 million, with $25 million earmarked for investment to help the facility expand.
The Hockenheim management say that the reports are surprising in that they have a contract to run races in 2016 and 2018. The two circuits have alternated the event since 2008. Part of this deal allowed the Nürburgring to use the “Grosser Preis von Deutschland” title, although this is owned by the Frankfurt-based Automobilclub von Deutschland (AvD), which dates back to 1899, and has close associations with Hockenheim. Under the terms of the alternation deal the AvD allowed its Munich-based rival the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club (ADAC), which was established in 1903, to use the name but it might not be so keen on the idea if Hockenheim is excluded from the arrangements.
There is an intermediate body that involves both ADAC and the AvD. the German national sporting authority, Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB), which is headed by former F1 driver Hans Stuck, who used to drive Brabhams for Bernie Ecclestone.