Race Facts – German Grand Prix

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Germany is home to the all conquering Mercedes AMG F1 team plus 4-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel. It has two iconic tracks – the Hockenheimring and the Nurburgring – and a wealthy population of 80 million. Yet the German Grand Prix has been absent from the F1 calendar for two out of the last three years. What’s going on?

To answer this question, we need to look at the history of the German Grand Prix. Just three venues have hosted the event since its inception in 1926; Nurburgring, Hockenheimring and AVUS Berlin. In the early years of the modern Formula 1 World Championship, the race was held on the legendary 22.8km Nurburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) in the Eifel mountains. The Hockenheimring, a flat circuit in the upper Rhine Valley, first hosted the race in 1970, before establishing itself as the main venue for the event between 1977-2006. The Hockenheimring underwent a significant transformation ahead of the 2002 German Grand Prix at the hands of designer Hermann Tilke. The long forest sections of the circuit were removed, reducing the track length from 6.8km to 4.5km. Ron Dennis, McLaren boss at the time commented: “They have cut the heart out of something which was very special, very emotional, something which had its own spirit.”

In 2007, a race-sharing deal was put in place to alternate the German Grand Prix between the Hockenheimring and Nurburgring. This arrangement worked well until 2015, when the bankruptcy of the Nurburgring ruled the venue out of hosting the race. Poor attendances and financial losses sustained in recent races meant that the owners of the Hockenheimring were unwilling to step up at short notice to host the race annually. There was plenty of head scratching in the F1 paddock after the poorly attended 2014 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring. The stands were pretty much empty on Friday and barely half full on race day (an estimated 50,000 fans attended). On the same day at the Nurburgring, around 100,000 fans attended a truck-racing event. Why are German fans not supporting their home race?

Michael Schumacher was a ‘man of the people’ and extraordinarily popular in Germany in the way that Sebastian Vettel will never be. His retirement was one of the biggest reasons for the decline in local support. High ticket prices don’t help, but Germany is actually one of the calendar’s cheapest destinations when the price of a ticket is compared to the average monthly salary. Several grandstands are already sold out for the returning German Grand Prix in 2018, so maybe things are looking up once again for the sport in Germany. The new owners of the Nurburgring have also thrown their hat in the ring (a possible return has been mooted for 2019), though as always, money will be the deciding factor.

GERMAN GP: DID YOU KNOW?

  • The most successful driver in the German Grand Prix is local pilot Rudolf Caracciola, who won six times between 1926-1939. Michael Shumacher recorded 4 wins in his home Grand Prix, all at the Hockenheimring. Ferrari is the most successful constructor with 22 wins.
  • Just two drivers represent Germany on the 2018 Formula 1 grid; Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenburg. This is down from five German drivers just a few years ago, including 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg.
  • Legendary Scottish driver Jim Clark was killed during a Formula 2 event at the Hockenheimring in 1968, which prompted the organizers to break up the long forest straights with new chicanes
  • During the 1982 German Grand Prix, race-leader Nelson Piquet collided with backmarker Eliseo Salazar when trying to lap him at the chicane, putting them both out of the race. After getting out of their cars, Piquet approached the Chilean and began punching and kicking him. Talk about road rage!
Circuit NameHockenheimring
Race first held1970
Track Length4.574km
Race Distance306.442km (67 laps)
Lap Record (post-2002 layout)1:13.780 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren, 2004)
2016 Result1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:30:44.200
2nd Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +6.996s
3rd Max Verstappen(Red Bull) +13.413s
November 2, 2018

Accommodation – 2019 German Grand Prix

Where to stay near Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix. This year’s race is on July 20-22, 2018.

October 20, 2018

Tickets – 2019 German Grand Prix

Your guide to buying tickets and the best places to watch the action at the Hockenheimring for the 2019 German Grand Prix on July 26-28.

July 17, 2018

Trackside – 2018 German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring

Get the most out of your trip to the 2018 German Grand Prix on July 19-22. Here’s our trackside guide to the Hockenheimring, including the full on-track timetable.

July 16, 2018

German Grand Prix Travel Quiz

How well do you know the Hockenheimring and the German Grand Prix?

July 1, 2018

Getting There & Around – German Grand Prix

How to get to the Hockenheimring for this year’s German Grand Prix on July 20-22, including detailed info on trains and driving to the circuit.

June 7, 2018

Off-Track Activities – German Grand Prix

The best things to do away from the Hockenheimring at the 2018 German Grand Prix, including the most interesting nearby attractions. The Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums in nearby Stuttgart and the incredible Technik Museum Sinsheim top our list!

March 3, 2018

Race Facts – German Grand Prix

Germany is home to the all conquering Mercedes AMG F1 team plus 4-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel. It has two iconic tracks; the Hockenheimring and the Nurburgring.

January 31, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 German Grand Prix

Planning a trip to the 2018 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring on July 20-22? Read our budget planner to work out the cost of your trip!

January 10, 2018

Travel Basics – German Grand Prix

The German Grand Prix is back on the Formula 1 calendar for 2018! Start planning your trip to the Hockenheimring circuit in the beautiful Upper Rhine valley for the race on July 20-22.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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