Race Facts – German Grand Prix

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Germany is home to the parent company of the all-conquering Mercedes AMG F1 team plus 4-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel. It has two iconic tracks – the Hockenheimring and the Nurburgring, yet the future of the event is never too stable. The 2019 German Grand Prix takes place on 25-28 July.

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.

An increase in ticket sales for 2018 along with backing from Mercedes, who will be the title sponsor of the race for 2019, means the German Grand Prix will remain on the calendar for now. This year will mark the first time since 2005 and 2006 that Hockenheim has hosted Grands Prix in consecutive seasons. As always, money will be the deciding factor in the long-term future of the event.

German Grand Prix: 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.
  • Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity to beat Schumacher’s tally of German Grand Prix wins at the 2019 event. He’s won four times – three times at Hockenheim and once at the Nurburgring.
  • Just two drivers represent Germany on the 2019 Formula 1 grid; Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg. 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
  • Three drivers – Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost – are currently tied as the drivers with the most poles at Hockenheim with three each. Sebastian Vettel could join that list in 2019.
  • Hans Heyer was disqualified from the 1977 German Grand Prix for illegally starting the race. He’d failed to qualify for the event, having set a lap time over four seconds slower than the polesitter but started the race anyway before eventually retiring. He’s the only driver to have recorded a DNQ, a DNF and a DSQ at the same event.
  • Didier Pironi’s F1 career came to a premature end at the 1982 German Grand Prix. Having already taken pole position for the race, Pironi was testing new rain-spec Goodyear tyres when he crashed and fractured both legs.
  • At the 2014 German Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg became the first German driver to win the German Grand Prix in a German car for 75 years
  • With the exceptions of Keke Rosberg in 1986 and Nico Rosberg in 2016 the polesitter of an F1 race at Hockenheim has always either finished on the podium or failed to finish the race.

German Grand Prix facts

Circuit Name Hockenheimring
Race first held 1970
Track Length4.574km (16 turns)
Race Distance306.458km (77 laps)
Lap Record (post-2002 layout)1:13.780 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren, 2004)
2018 Result1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:32:29.845
2nd Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +4.535s
3rd Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +6.732s
July 5, 2019

Trackside – 2019 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring

Get the most out of your trip to the 2019 German Grand Prix on July 26-28. Here’s our trackside guide to the Hockenheimring.

February 23, 2019

Budget Planner – 2019 German Grand Prix

Work out the cost of your trip to the 2019 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring on July 26-28.

February 19, 2019

Race Facts – German Grand Prix

Germany is home to the parent company of the all-conquering Mercedes AMG F1 team plus 4-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel. It has two iconic tracks, yet the future of the event remains in doubt.

January 15, 2019

Off-Track Activities – German Grand Prix

The best things to do away from the track at the 2019 German Grand Prix, including the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums in Stuttgart.

January 2, 2019

Getting There & Around – German Grand Prix

How to get to the Hockenheimring for the 2019 German Grand Prix on July 26-28, including detailed info on trains and driving to the circuit.

November 16, 2018

Travel Basics – German Grand Prix

Start planning your trip to the Hockenheimring circuit for the German F1 Grand Prix in the beautiful Upper Rhine valley. The next race is on July 25-28, 2019.

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.

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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.

Comments (4)

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  1. Liz says:

    Which grandstands would you recommend ? Imagine money no object- first 5?

  2. Will Mann says:

    Hi Andrew lots of useful information there but your piece is titled Race Facts and yet the first fact is in-correct. Germany is not home to the AMG Mercedes F1 team – Brackley in England is. Even the engines are not built in Germany. They are built a few miles up the road from Brackley! You may claim semantics! Keep up the good work.

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