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Hockenheim: F1 demise spat continues

2015-03-26 09:43

FOND MEMORY: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg acknowledges the applause after winning the German F1 at Hockenheim. Image: Shutterstock

HOCKENHEIM, Germany - The Hockenheim racetrack and Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday (March 26) have denied responsibility for the demise of the historic German Formula 1 GP.

The Nurburgring was scheduled to host this year's July 19 race but confusion over ownership of the fabled track moved Ecclestone to observe in January: "It can't be Nurburgring because there's nobody there."

Talks then kicked off with Hockenheim about stepping in at short notice, even though the circuit was only contractually obliged for alternate years.

TICKET REVENUE

"Someone had to be willing to bear the financial risk," Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler was quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild. "As a medium-sized company, we could not. The decision about the 2015 GP taking placewas not our responsibility."

In the end, Hockenheim offered the use of the track and would have allowed Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, to collect the ticket revenue. Mercedes-Benz even stepped in to coverly offering to cover half of any financial loss and even promote its home race.

Seiler said: "We offered ourselves as the replacement (for the Nurburgring) but obviously not with any financial risk to ourselves.  As a company we cannot be gambling."

He and Ecclestone, however, could not agree. "We do not sell tickets," Ecclestone, 84, was quoted as saying by Sport Bild. "The organiser must ensure that it has enough money."

Former German F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen believes the main problem is declining interest in the sport, due to the deterioration of the 'show'.

"The cars are now much easier to drive than before," he said, "and the viewers can see that as well. Today even a skateboarder with a helmet camera can give you more exciting images than some F1 races."

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