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Bernie eyes precious 'Ring

2013-01-09 08:01

WHO WILL IT GO TO? Bernie Ecclestone is keen to see Nurburgring (above) host the 2013 German Grand Prix, however if that fails the race will return to Hockenheim.

LONDON, England - The Nurburgring is set to host the 2013 German Formula 1 GP and a deal could be agreed this week after further talks, Formula 1's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday January 8, 2013.

The 82-year-old also told Reuters that the calendar, approved by the governing International Automobile Federation in November 2012, would have 19 races rather than the 20 slots available.

FINANCIAL WOES

The calendar has the German race listed for July 7 at a circuit to be confirmed and another unnamed European round pencilled in for July 21 and intended for Turkey before talks stalled over money.

The Nurburgring and Hockenheim have alternated as venues for the German GP in recent years, with the former due to host the 2013 round. However the circuit's financial problems have led to uncertainty. Ecclestone said: "It should be the Nurburgring and we are trying to make it happen. I'm talking with them today."

The billionaire, who has expanded the calendar to new destinations far from the sport's European heartland, played down suggestions that Hockenheim could step in.

Circuit owners Nurburgring GmbH, 90% owned by the German regional state of Rhineland-Palatinate, has run into financial trouble amid a dispute with track operator NAG over leasing fees. The state is under pressure to make the track pay after pouring millions of euros into a racing-themed amusement park there.

The circuit is due to be put up for auction some time in 2013 but Nurburgring managing director Thomas Schmidt, who runs the company with an insolvency administrator, told Reuters in November they had agreed with NAG to plan for 2013 regardless of the dispute.

The race will be a home one for Red Bull's triple World champion Sebastian Vettel, who has yet to win a GP on German soil, as well as for automaker Mercedes which now has Britain's 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton partnering Germany's Nico Rosberg in its works team.

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