Exclusive: German Grand Prix could vanish from F1 calendar, says Ecclestone

Christian Sylt
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FORMULA One boss Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the future of the German Grand Prix is in doubt after he failed with a $50m (£30m) bid for the historic Nurburgring.

The track, which alternates with Hockenheim as the race’s venue, has been up for sale since May after a $370m redevelopment, including mall, hotel and amusement park, ran into financial difficulties. Ecclestone’s knock-down offer was rejected and the winning bidder could be selected today. Hockenheim will host the German Grand Prix in 2014 but is not ready to do so every year, so a failure to secure the future of the Nurburgring would put the race’s place on the F1 calendar in jeopardy, with India and South Korea standing by to replace it.

“The German Grand Prix is in trouble because they haven’t got any money,” said Ecclestone.

“It is in trouble because it used to be supported by the council but now the European Commission has said people can’t use that sort of money for this sort of thing.

“On Wednesday they are going to make up their mind whether to accept the offers. None is from me. When I go to an auction I want to leave a bid, which is what I did, and somebody could offer more. I don’t know what’s happening there.”

The three remaining bidders reportedly include an American group, German automotive company Capricorn and investment firm HIG Capital.

Ecclestone added: “I offered them $50m. You have got a massive facility, nice hotels, a lot of land, a lot of buildings and the race track. It’s a good investment.”