GERMAN RACE CRISIS: Bernie Ecclestone says there is still time to save one or other of the German F1 GP venues - but it will be a close thing. Image: AP / Darron Cummings
LONDON, England - Germany - home of 2014 Formula 1 champion team Mercedes - looks unlikely to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2015 but there is still time to secure a deal, the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters on Monday (Feb 2 2015).
The 84-year-old Briton was speaking after Germany's Rhein Zeitung newspaper quoted him as saying there would be no race because "the visitor numbers were so poor in recent years that it is not economically viable".
Ecclestone confirmed a fax had been sent to the publication in response to a query but denied the matter had been decided.
"Who knows? There are two places (circuits) there. Wait and see," he said. "It's not looking good... you can say that it (the race) looks unlikely but we are trying to rescue it. I don't want to lose it - we are trying our best."
The 2015 race was booked for the Nuerburgring under an"alternation agreement" that saw Hockenheim host it the previous season.
Ecclestone told Reuters in January 2015 that Hockenheim would host the July 19 2015 race because of problems at the Nuerburgring. However, he subsequently threw doubt on that by saying no deal had been signed with any German circuit. Each circuit has have struggled financially, Nuerburgring changing ownership in 2014 after rebuffing a bid from Ecclestone while Hockenheim's crowd figures dwindled that year.
The country's four-times F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, who comes from near Hockenheim, has lacked the pulling power of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher and 2014's race drew only 52 000 spectators.
Only 45 000 turned out on race day at the Nuerburgring in 2013, the season after Schumacher finally retired.
That compares to 120 000 for the British GP at Silverstone and 80 000 on race day in Austria - a race that also attracted plenty of German fans in 2014 when it returned to the calendar for the first time since 2003.
With the 2015 F1 season starting in Australia in March, Ecclestone indicated Germany had only a couple of weeks to do a deal and stay on what will otherwise be a 19-race calendar.Germany's two tracks arehistoric, thhough much modified. The country has hosted a round of the championship every year since 1960.
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