Start, Hockenheimring, 2014

Germany loses its F1 race – and Italy could be next

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Start, Hockenheimring, 2014On the F1 grid today Germany is represented by a championship-winning team, a four-times champions driver and another multiple race-winner.

Germany has also held more rounds of the world championship than any country apart from Italy, Yet despite that it has lost its place on the Formula One calendar this year.

And there are now concerns Italy could be the next venue to lose its F1 race as Formula One continues to leave traditional venues behind – and move races further away from its exclusively Europe-based teams.

Is the championship is broadening its horizons – or losing its identity?

F1 races by country, 1950-2015

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Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2004At present no country holds more than one round of the championship. However in the past F1 has taken advantage of surges of popularity in particular regions to put on extra races.

For a long time Italy had a second race dubbed the San Marino Grand Prix which was held at Imola, some 80 kilometres outside of the tiny republic. In the eighties the USA held up to three races per season under a variety of names. More recently the European Grand Prix was held in Britain, Spain and, most frequently, Germany.

The popularity of Michael Schumacher sustained Germany’s two rounds of the championship at the Hockenheimring and Nurburgring. But from 2007, the year after Schumacher’s first retirement, the two circuits began hosting a single Germany round on an alternating basis.

However the Nurburgring’s recent financial problems, which led to its sale to Capricorn Development last year, cast doubt on its future as a grand prix venue. Among the rival bids turned down was one from Bernie Ecclestone, who faced a bribery trial in Germany in 2014 which was concluded by a settlement.

Podium, Monza, 2010Ecclestone entered talks to move this year’s race to the Hockenheimring. But despite Mercedes offering to cover some of the losses the circuit might incur, having been disappointed by the poor turn-out at last year’s race, no deal was reached for the race to continue this year.

Despite losing its F1 race the Nurburgring is set to hold its first round of the re-formed World Endurance Championship, where both Audi and Porsche compete, and will also be visited by the DTM where Mercedes alse compete alongside Audi and BMW.

The success of a major local manufacturer – not to mention Sebastian Vettel’s four consecutive drivers’ championship titles – was not enough to sustain Germany’s round of the championship. But surely the same could not happen in the backyard of Formula One’s most famous team?

F1 races in Europe, 1950-2015

Of the 935 rounds of the world championship which will have been held by the end of this season, Europe accounts for 592 – almost two-thirds:

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The Gran Premio d’Italia is one of only two races which has never been absent from the world championship calendar – the other being the British Grand Prix. And no circuit has held more F1 races than Monza – it’s only missed one since the championship was inaugurated.

But for all the passion of the Ferrari tifosi, the heritage of one of the world’s oldest permanent racing circuits, and even agreements within F1 intended to protect historic events on the calendar, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is in jeopardy.

Although a healthy crowd of feverish fans assembles beneath Monza’s superb podium every year, they are part of a gradually declining race day crowd. Rising ticket prices, Italy’s economic torpor and the relatively poor showing by the home favourites in recent years are among the factors considered responsible.

When it comes to negotiating prices for future races Ecclestone likes to play one venue off against another, and for a while a rumoured grand prix on a street circuit in Rome provided that service. But that’s been off the table since 2011. Now Monza’s centenary approaching in 2022, and the promoters’ obvious desire to have a race that year may be Ecclestone’s best bargaining chip when they seek to extend the current deal which expires after next year’s race.

The simple fact is heritage, local interest or even the quality of a circuit’s layout have zero bearing on who gets to hold a grand prix. If a promoter is willing to pay Ecclestone’s prices, little else matters.

His views on the likelihood of European promoters being able to foot his bills have been clear for some time. “People should worry about our economy and the fact that in 10 years’ time Europe will be a third world region, taken over by Asia and Latin America,” said Ecclestone in 2004 (a claim he repeated recently).

He was speaking at a time when the proportion of races in Europe had just fallen from 62.5% to 55.5%. Today European races account for 36.8%.

How much further can that figure fall? And how much longer can Formula One’s struggling teams afford to participate in a calendar where almost two-thirds of the races are a long-haul flight away?

How many F1 raes each country has held

CountryRacesFirstLastUnder other titlesTitles
Argentina2019531998
Australia3119852015
Austria2819642015
Bahrain1120042015
Belgium6019502015
Brazil4319732015
Canada4619672015
China1220042015
France59195020081Switzerland
Germany751951201414Europe, Luxembourg
Great Britain69195020153Europe
Hungary3019862015
India320112013
Italy931950201527Pescara, San Marino
Japan33197620152Pacific
Korea420102013
Malaysia1719992015
Mexico1619632015
Monaco6219502015
Morocco119581958
Netherlands3019521985
Portugal1619581996
Russia220142015
Singapore820082015
South Africa2319621993
Spain52195120157Europe
Sweden619731978
Switzerland519501982
Turkey720052011
United Arab Emirates7200920157Abu Dhabi
USA661959201511Indianapolis 500, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Long Beach

Notes on the data

The above assumes all 19 races on the 2015 F1 calendar go ahead.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 92 comments on “Germany loses its F1 race – and Italy could be next”

    1. The German tracks aren’t great, I’m not honestly going to miss a German GP. But I don’t like why it’s gone. Ticket prices are just too high. But Bernie’s answer is ‘fine, we’ll take our show somewhere that will pay it’ and those new races are even more not great.

      And it shows how much danger other tracks are in when he gets to name his price regardless of demand.

      Silverstone is too expensive for me to want to go to, but if it’s dropped I’m stopping watching F1.

      But then I wear a Citizen watch so what the hell do I matter.

      1. Casio here mate. My opinion doesn’t mean jack either.

      2. So what is a great track? Many people say that Hockenheim is boring, but last year we had maybe the best race of the season there. While Spa is an amazing track but often produces some of the most boring races…

        Considering costs. I’m German and have never been to an F1 race, but to various other motorsport events. I am now considering to attend next years… Indy 500… Why? Because I saw that the most expensive tickets are something like $180, and hotels in the area are only €100/night plus I can combine it with another road trip vacation thru the US.

        1. I think a good track is where the track is built around the landscape, not the other way around. Spa being a good example.

          That said, my view on what makes a good track may be different to others. I know for some what makes a great track is the history and prestige involved with those tracks – Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Hockenheim etc.

          1. Almost 15 years ago I bought a BMW M3 brochure on eBay from an F1 fan living in Kerpen, Germany. He was telling me how proud everyone in his town was that their famous son Michael Schumacher had won the F1 championship with Ferrari.

            He sent me photos he had taken while he was at the Belgium Grand Prix, and when I saw the incredible landscape around Spa, I had to know more. Since then, I’ve been an F1 fan.

            Now it’s 15 F1 seasons later and 3 times I’ve been to Austin for the race at COTA.

            My dream is to see the races at Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Suzuka and Spa.

            One day.

            1. Spa….Fantastastic ,awe inspiring,incredible,terrifying,nothing compares see it and die.

        2. I’ve never been to Indy, but I’d like to go one day. As an American racing fan I guess it’s my imperative. You should have quite an experience there!

          I’ve been to COTA 3 times and I always enjoy staying in Austin, as well as the drive there from Los Angeles. The atmosphere, food and vibe of Austin is great.

          For many years, my view of grand prix circuits was shaped by what I saw on TV and by what drivers and fans said.

          It wasn’t until I started playing Real Racing 3 a year ago that I gained an appreciation for tracks I had not given much thought to.

          One of those tracks is Hockenheim. For a long time I had difficulty judging my braking points for the hairpin at the end of the long Parabolika.

          I have even more respect now for those young drivers that have to tackle a new track for the first time during the F1 weekend.

      3. Germany has been bad since they butchered the old – and proper – Hockenheim. Since then, it has just become another track, with another race, that doesn’t have any serious feeling, and therefore it can be held at any other track. Monza, Monaco and Spa all provide something unique, and therefore they can’t be substituted. In my opinion.

        1. I’m not sure I fully understand you regarding the “old & proper Hockenheim”. The track charged off into the country and was basically a couple of very long straights with a loop at the end. There were no spectator facilities and you were in for a heck of a hike if you wanted to get out to the back circuit. What they have now isn’t perfect but far better for spectators, and, I would argue, the drivers too. A bit like Spa, the track could go wet/dry wet/dry several times over in a single lap due to the trees. Quite a dangerous combination. RIP Jim Clark.

      4. My cellphone is my watch…

    2. Perhaps the prophecies of the past saying F1 will disappear up its own backside is of the current tense.

      The sport is out of touch with reality and as such has lost the respect of the general public. Putting races in the deserts of corrupt nations will not solve this.

      Image in more important than fact, and as much as us fanatics can acknowledge this is a good sport with good racing, to the average punter it just looks like a venture to line a few selfish individuals pockets with gold. We overlook that so that we can follow our passion, but to many out there its a bitter pill to swallow. People hold the little man in the same regard as Sepp Blatter and Mohammed Bin Hammam.

      Its at the point where inidividuals, companies and governments simply refuse to do business knowing whose pockets it inevitably ends up in.

      1. “Putting races in the deserts of corrupt nations will not solve this.”
        And the Mexican GP is coming as well as the Qatar in two years…
        On another note, F1 will be from now on expensive because of the high costs that the whole sport produces plus the stolen money. So as it is becoming more and more expensive famous venues will dissapear and as said above “only races will be held where it can be paid in.”

        1. Honestly, I’m happy trading the Mexican GP for the German one. That is about the tracks, I’m not really bothered with the location.

          As for Qatar, can’t remember a dull MotoGP race on the track so looking forward to it.

      2. You make a good point. Bernie is still making money because shady autocracies are still willing to pay tons of money to be part of “the circus” but it’s only keeping big companies further away. The German government would find it hard to fund a “luxury” event but a Sheik in Mid East or a Putin? Easy.

    3. All the talk of changes toward an entertainment business and sporting gimmicks to spice up the show, ad nausea um. Herein lies the prime reason F1 is falling off the map for people. What kind of sport is it that kills its best events?

      1. I had the same feelings when, because of so-called bureaucratic issues, F1 left Portugal.

        I got over it eventually.

      2. Hopefully Ferrari’s mini revival should nip this in the bud.

        Monza is very important for F1. It is one of the few times where fans play such a huge part in the spectacle especially when it comes to the podium ceremony which is generally fairly underwhelming unless your favourite driver/team win.

        Although it will be symbolic, the race with the most passionate fans being replaced for a dull Tilke racetrack in some hellhole with nothing to provide but huge amounts of oil money. See FIFA with the Qatar World Cup. A further example of Bernie’s regard for the fans.

        1. Monza has always favoured cars with a high top speed and shaped Enzos philosophy, making the best engine being of primary importance. Ferrari may have the right car for Monza again this year, be more than a shame if they did not get to show it.

    4. I will always associate the German GP with Hockenheim and was flabergasted when they decided to change half the track.

      It was genuninely excellent. A real fast track with great and unique scenery, in the forests. This change I think may have had an adverse effect on the popularity of this race track.

      I also find it somewhat bewildering that F1’s popularity in Germany is dwindling despite Vette’sl, Rosberg’s and Mercedes’s recent success. Is this more down to costs and affordability or is it down to both Vettel and Rosberg failing to capture the imaginations of the public like Schumacher did?

      1. And that is part of the problem.

        When you look at how many tracks have been upgraded, modified or even built simply to earn the right to pay a large hosting fee that will never be 100% recouped I can understand the frustrations.

        Most circuits end up with with a large debt and a racing circuit that looks nothing like it used to.

      2. I think it is likely a combination of several factors, as we’ve touched on…the economy being one of the bigger ones. See the lack of major sponsors in F1 as an indicator. And when I say a combination of several factors, I have to include the quality of the product and the direction F1 has gone. I’ll keep hammering away that DRS has no place in F1. All the gimmick talk in general, even up to recent days. Sprinklers, reverse grids, more double points races…not exactly inspiring to a promoter who might think ‘if that’s what F1 is now…a circus sideshow…no thanks’. It dumbs it down at exactly the wrong time…when BE is asking more and more for less and less. If they’re having trouble attracting new young viewers to F1, with high global youth unemployment, they’re surely not doing anything for the experienced viewers either, who no longer recognize the sport.

        Back to basics, please.

      3. The falling viewing-figures in free-TV suggest there is a lot more to it than just costs (only Vettel has some fans, Rosberg and Mercedes being barely more popular in Germany than outside of it, and far from being as popular here as it currently seems to be in GB), but the costs drive those who are still interested from visiting the German GP. And that cost also was a lot higher on GermanGPs than on the other nearby tracks, for whatever reason. Traveling to, staying and watching at Spa, Hungary, even Monza and Austria was cheaper than attending the GermanGP.

    5. The experience here in Canada a handful of years ago, the last time the Montreal race appeared to be threatened, was that BE wanted long term guarantees from the government(s), including the federal government. I believe he was asking for a guarantee of 50 mill each for 5 years. Too steep for the promoters and the governments. My understanding is that there was so much backlash toward BE for losing that race, partly because at the time there was no US GP, so no North American race at all, and that market is huge for the teams, not to mention they love Montreal, that he had to back down on his demands. When he knocked it in half the promoters and the governments…municipal, provincial, and federal, agreed to the terms.

      So it’s not just about the promoters paying…it’s about governments giving BE long term guarantees, and I believe that is why BE mentions the European economy. Ironically though, the money injected into a local economy can make the race an investment, gleaning more revenues than is being paid to BE. But of course that may not be the case in Germany and Italy when it is combined with such lower attendance numbers. Not saying I think BE reducing his demands would be enough, but I also don’t think he is an innocent bystander while these iconic tracks fall by the wayside.

      “People should worry about our economy…” but don’t look to me to try to help it…I’m outta here.

      1. It is about BE being paid- full stop. He’s getting money from whomever will give it to him- he doesn’t care at all about who is responsible for creating the F1 show we have today- in his mind it was all him and not the millions of fans around the world. He doesn’t care about the fans- he himself is responsible for the show in his mind and he can take it where he pleases. He doesn’t consider that the fans created the show- without the fans there are no sponsors, no ticket sales and no show. BE just thinks he can squeeze a bit more out of everyone- it won’t stop until it all comes down in tears. No France, no Germany, no Italy and instead replace that with crappy tilke-tracks in places that have no care about motor racing. F1 is on a declining trajectory- it has been for years. It is not because Europe is a third world nation- it is because BE can get easy money from other questionable places in the world while the heartland of F1 is telling him to take a hike. His ego has been killing F1 slowly for years, but something as big as F1 takes a long time for people to notice how sick it is.

    6. You’ve listed Dallas as a host location for the US GP, is actually Austin.

    7. they should have got rid of the german gp after they buthchered it after 2001. before that the track was an amazing place for f1 cars.

      1. But it was amazingly unsafe and unspectator-friendly. I took miss the one-off engineering challenge of the race. Basically it was like the (modern) Indy 500 of F1. But those speeds, on that narrow track, with trees just off the side, that was just nuts.

    8. As @brum55 said – they ruined the track in 2002 anyway. I’ve been a fan for over 20 years and here’s my 2p…

      I’ve been to a few GPs and every time I’ve been thoroughly underwhelmed. Why would I want to go again when the coverage on Sky/BBC is so good anyway? I far prefer doing something else with my day, recording the GP and then watching it when the kids have gone to bed. A extortionately expensive day at Silverstone, the traffic, the lack of booze, the weather, the dull support races etc…no thanks.

      With superb live coverage (and a recording facility) why anyone bothers going to GPs these days is beyond me. Monza is a nice track but it’s hardly the end of the world if it’s replaced.

      1. @joshgeake
        I beg to differ that staying at home and watching the television coverage is a superior experience to witnessing the race itself. I’ve been to 3 British gp’s (2008, 2011, 2014), and each time that I’ve been I’ve left with the feeling that I have just paid witness to a small piece of history. Ive been to a few sporting events, but it is the memories from those races that I feel will probably remain with me for the rest of my life. People refer back to the British Grand Prix in 08 as one of the best races in recent history and I can say that I was there, and I can recount the incredible atmosphere despite the atrocious weather, and the feeling that I left with as a 10 year old Lewis Hamilton fan. Last year I was lucky enough to go onto the track after the race, and witness first hand the podium celebrations, as well as being within metres of the cars, you don’t get to do that at home!
        Watching on the tv you just don’t get to experience all the sensations that make the weekend. To smell the rubber being laid down is to me amazing, and on the TV you really get a poor sense of the true noise of the engines. There are even big screens everywhere so you don’t miss the action elsewhere on the track!
        Obviously some tracks are better than others, and I count myself lucky to have witnessed some of the more exciting races at silverstone, but there are some tracks that seem to offer high quality racing year in year out, such as Canada, Hungary, Spa, Monza, Texas, and Brazil. Losing Germany is more of a tragedy for the German fans than for anyone else as admittedly the races at both tracks have been a bit hit and miss, but losing ‘a nice track’ like Monza would be a true tragedy for the sport, as we would likely be moving from a high quality venue that is virtually guaranteed to bring in crowds to some tilkedrome in the middle of nowhere that gives up after a couple of years.
        Formula 1 needs European venues, the oil money will run out sooner or later and once that happens f1 will need to have a fan base to fall back on, something that doesn’t seem very forthcoming in the middle of the desert!!

        1. I’ve been around long enough to remember when commentators would scoff at Hungary and Monza as being dull tracks…now look where we are.

          I’m only saying that going to a GP, in my experience, is not worth the bother and that perhaps ticket sales should not be taken too seriously as a gauge of a race’s success.

          On a related note, my memory of Nurbergring 1997 was that when MS retired, the people in the grandstand just went home. Schumacher mattered, the racing didn’t.

          1. On a related note, my memory of Nurbergring 1997 was that when MS retired, the people in the grandstand just went home. Schumacher mattered, the racing didn’t.

            The same was often true at the Brazilian Gp if Senna & later Barrichello retired.

            In 1994 when Senna retired I remember Heli-cam shots been shown on TV of the grandstands emptying & the crowds leaving.

            1. I’m certainly not convinced the racing didn’t matter. MS retired from the race and therefore the racing to them ended. If the racing didn’t matter, MS would have been cheered when RB handed him a win with meters to go in Austria 02. Rather, everyone globally was disgusted at the lack of racing with how that race ended.

              Of course the racing matters.

      2. @joshgeake

        A extortionately expensive day at Silverstone, the traffic, the lack of booze

        I don’t get what you mean here – there are loads of places selling alcohol on a grand prix weekend at Silverstone.

        1. You don’t even have to find a place to buy it, they come round selling it from special beer dispensing backpacks.

          1. Its Hammer time
            9th April 2015, 0:37

            Isn’t the point that if you’ve driven to the race, you are limited in being able to enjoy a drink once there.

            Also, when i was last at Silverstone they were selling cans of Fosters out of refrigerated backpacks to the Captive audience at £6 a can. Sky Now tv access is £6.99 for 24 hours. Go figure.

      3. I went to the Friday practice at Silverstone last year. Blowing a gale and I couldn’t read the digits on the big screens. Just a flash of a red/blue/silver car going by… Not much to write home about. I enjoyed the comprehensive commentary on TV better.

        BE – it’s just like Murdoch and Sky – get all the money you can and if there are not fans watching it, so what. As long as the sponsors and tracks have paid, that’s all that matters. Empty stands in ultra rich/poor countries.

        That Italy might be threatened next, with the Reds on the up and a new hero, (SV), it’s sickening.

    9. What if we remove bernie once and for all .. He’s killing the sport.. Get him out and put a young guy with fresh ideas..

      1. Even a new guy would likely do the same. When F1 was sold to CVC the train-wreck became inevitable. The revenue streams required to service the debt have sucked the soul out of the sport.

    10. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      7th April 2015, 13:40

      Struggling to be interested in F1 anymore with its decline. Even if it was still all on free-to-air I probably wouldn’t watch every race anyway anymore.

      1. Agreed. Its not specifically the rules, its not the tracks, it not the cars, its not the egos, its not the politics. Addressing one of these will achieve nothing in the grand scheme of things. Its simply the entity of Formula One as a whole has lost its gloss that it once had. Fans have been let down and patronized too many times, now viewing the sport like an ostracized 2nd cousin – you know he/she exists, but you really don’t give a toss.

        I think its a culture issue, and when the sport is run as a dictatorship the culture problem lies with one man.

      2. Agreed. Personally, I find that with the runoff, less crashes, less danger, less skill (DRS) and a greater emphasis on hidden gains (tyre wear, aero dev, engine dev etc)…F1 has lost value with its audience.

        1. I agree with you.With the huge runoff areas the drivers are going off the track more to gain an advantage ( some more than others). They should stay on the track more. I know they sometimes get penalised but not enough.
          I don’t like the engine noise and feel that the excitement has been lost , no wonder audiences are dwindling. After 50 years of following i may not be watching for much longer.

      3. I’m in agreement. As a U.S. based fan, with some depth (my first race 1967 German GP) and having attended races on and off; F-1 lacks something. Haven’t been to COTA in Texas as of yet and my interest is peaked a bit with HAAS F-1 coming into the fold in ’16. The bubble around the pits, teams and drivers that prevents the general fan access is a form of censorship – here’s the cover of the book though you can’t read the book. I find my motorsport interest are focusing more on the WEC.

        1. I would say that qualifies as having some depth :-)

          Question – as an American how have you found the sport and its penetration into the USA market? It is an alien sport already in the US, but the bubble the sport is in must be a deterrent to so many fans? I mean, the engagement American sports has with its fans through social media, face to face, forums and even acknowledging ones existence is simply amazing. For a sport that is at the other end of the scale surely it must just skim the top of what could be a very large fan base?

          I set up a facebook page about a year ago simply for awesome F1 videos. Over a matter of 3 months I had just under 30,000 followers, of which 42% of the followers were from the USA. I did ask a mate in the US to help spread the word so the growth of followers did originate in the USA. Some of the comments of astonishment to how great this sport is were comparable to a 15yr old seeing their first set of breasts. Yet, despite me not profiting in any way shape or form the site was taken down. I understand copyrights but that’s 12,600 USA fans I put in touch with the sport that then lost that connection.

          If each of those 12,600 were so amazed to the point of going to see the race – I’ve recouped roughly 3% of the Grand Prix hosting fees. All of this done whilst sitting on my butt here in Battersea. Point is, F1 could do a whole heap more to embrace the USA market

    11. Even without Germany, F1 still has more races in Europe than in any other continent this year:

      Europe: 8
      Asia: 6
      North America: 3
      South America: 1
      Oceania: 1
      Africa: 0
      Antarctica: 0

      However, saying that, having the German and Italian Grand Prix where the only two full works teams in Formula 1 are from is absolutely vital to the sport. I am more than up for having F1 visit these exotic places such as Singapore and Mexico as well as some of the less exciting ones such as Bahrain but ultimately F1 really has to stick to its roots where possible. The history of the sport is one of the few things that F1 can boast about these days so it must continue to embrace that whilst still implementing new things, especially as it can no longer boast having the best drivers, the best cars, or the diversity in circuits in my eyes.

      1. @craig-o I think we must advance and work towards a race on both the North and South pole. Sure Pirelli can provide us with spiked tyres…

      2. @craig-o I will always think of Team Brackley as British no matter who their owners are from :)

      3. since when was oceania a country? australia is a continent in its own right you know….

        1. Oceania isn’t a country, it’s a continent. Australia isn’t a continent, it’s a country.

          Oceania includes Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.

    12. In my opinion, F1 has much direr troubles than where it races. Sure, some circuits are absolutely awful, like Valencia, Barcelona, Korea, Russia or Abu Dhabi, but if everything else was great, it wouldn’t be much of a problem.

    13. I’m fully aware that for Ecclestone and FOM, money talks.

      On the other hand the re-distribution of the F1 calendar to include more non-European races is a good thing to promote the sport, at least on paper. The issue is as F1 is become more globalised, it’s simultaneously becoming more upper class.

    14. It is not bad that F1 is broadening its horizons and that some of the historic circuits are not on the calendar anymore – as my country’s most famous poet said, “the one who is going to last is the one who is willing to change”. The problem is that F1 is now racing in several countries, which have little to do with motorsports and host races only because it makes their authoritarian regimes look better. The “failed” European GPs should be replaced by new races in New Zealand or South Africa, not Qatar or Azerbaijan.

      As for the European circuits, it is true that Ecclestone demands unreasonable fees from them but they need to up their game, too. Hockenheim clearly did not do enough for the fans. Fanatics like me will pay hundreds of euros anyway but if you want to sell 100 thousand tickets, you need to entertain fans better. The renovation of Nurburgring in 2009 was right but it was done the wrong way and a lot of money obviously got wasted (actually, many big projects in Germany have failed during the last years).

      As for Monza, I have not been there (yet) but, as far as I know, it is not the state of the art either. Its official website looks a bit clumsy and still contains a lot of references to 2014… if you cannot even update your website, then you have nothing to do in a huge and competitive business like F1. And it is also not like every F1 circuit in the democratic world is struggling, some are able to entertain the spectators, attract huge crowds and keep the business running.

      Do not get me wrong, it would be very sad to see the Italian and the German races disappear but you cannot put all the blame on Bernie either.

      1. The “failed” European GPs should be replaced by new races in New Zealand or South Africa, not Qatar or Azerbaijan.

        @girts
        The problem is that there are not any circuits which could host F1 in those country’s.

        I know the 1st reply will likely be Kyalami, But I don’t believe its facilities are anywhere near been upto F1 standards & to be perfectly honest the current circuit is awful anyway & given how bad the races were there in 92/93 I can’t see them been any better now.

        Its actually interesting how when we had circuits like Imola & Magny-Cours on the schedule everyone used to complain every year that the circuit was awful for racing & that F1 should look at other circuits…. Yet when F1 actually did that those same people insist those circuits should be brought back.

        I don’t agree with some places where F1 is going But I do feel its right to look at new venues & to look at expanding beyond Europe because it is afterall a world championship & if you limit it to Europe & never look at trying to expand elsewhere then you will never know if there’s the interest elsewhere & will never be able to grow that interest.

        Its not always pointed out but since F1 went to Bahrain for the 1st time in 2004 Motorsport in the middle east has been growing & there are now several regional categories which didn’t exist before. There not as big as they could be but there still there & are still introducing local talent to motorsport & F1 going into the region has a lot to do with that.

        Also worth pointing out that the Abu-Dhabi Gp is nearly always packed with new grandstands built to accommodate the interest for last years race. The crowd in Sepang is usually between 80-100,000 & there’s usually big crowds in China of over 1000,000 for race day.
        Bahrain saw decent crowds the 1st few years but it is true that the figures have dropped the past few years with the turmoil in that country not helping.

        1. @gt-racer,

          ..there are not any circuits that could host F1…..

          And nor will there ever be until such time as the promoter can see a potential to recoup costs and not lose money every year.

        2. @gt-racer

          there’s usually big crowds in China of over 1000,000 for race day

          You are joking, right?
          Have you seen those empty grandstands each year? I think the track could bare 200k people at most, but in recent years there were no spectators at all. Some ppl at the S/F straight & paddock VIP area, but you should get a good look at those vast empty grandstands at turn 11-12-13.

          1. @bag0 1000,000 was a typo, Its meant to read 100,000.

            The problem with China is that it normally looks like there’s a smaller crowd than there actually is because of how many grandstands they built & how big they are. Its built to hold over 200,000 spectators which since Indy was dropped makes it the largest capacity circuit F1 goes to & not even Indy managed to get 200,000 spectators in on race-day (The record was 185,000 in 2001 I believe).

            The Chinese Gp race-day crowd tends to be between 100-150,000 which is on par with most of the more traditional venues but the excess grandstands make the place look less full.

          2. @bag0 I imagine that was a typo, he probably meant 100,000. At least, I hope he did, because you’re right about the empty grandstands.

    15. Honestly, I never believed that the German GP wouldn’t take place. When it was confirmed I was a bit shocked. Right now I’m sure that it will be back next year, but if it isn’t… well, that can be a problem. Hopefully this season will give the Germans plenty of reasons to fall in love with the sport again. Otherwise we lose a big part of F1.

      In the same way, I never put in doubt the presence of Monza in the F1 calendar, despite the rumors. But now I’m not so sure.
      It’s crazy, though. The Italian GP is an awesome event. The grandstands are always full, the crowd is super passionate, everyone loves it. And now it’s at risk. How is this possible?
      I mean, we can argue that the ticket prices for Monza are cheap compared to other F1 races, but they’re not cheap. Full grandstands with tickets that cost 200+ euros and the GP is at risk? Really, how much does it cost to run a F1 weekend?

    16. Well, we haven’t exactly lost the German Gp have we? It is only missing from the calendar for this year and will be back next year.

      As for Monza, so far it’s only Bernie flexing his usual muscle at contract renewal time, until it is definitely gone/going lets not create more hysteria about the state of F1 than there already is.

      Besides Monza is a bit of a rubbish circuit, despite it’s history, and if it did lose it’s race it is more likely that it would just move to somewhere like Mugello (hopefully) as I can’t see Ferrari standing for there being no Italian GP at all.

    17. It’s getting more and more annoying having to read news like this about the sport. I don’t mean to say that the website is doing a bad job by putting such news up, but just the fact that so much negativity surrounds Formula 1 for awhile now is really frustrating.

      Due to the fact that I have only started watching Formula 1 races in 2010, I can’t say for myself how much I will miss the German Grand Prix to be completely honest. This is because I haven’t experienced too much of it to make a deep impression on me. Not saying that the track is bad or anything, I respect the history that it has, but it’s a race which I view as the same compared to other races on the calender.

      But, back to the negativity surrounding the sport. I think for the past months, out of every five news that I read about Formula 1, at least three are bad news. They include people being upset with rules and regulations, (more traditional) tracks being removed from the calender, plans to hold races at locations where political situations aren’t the best, the high (and still increasing) costs of the sport, and the list goes on… If I were a person who is looking to become a motorsports fan, I don’t think Formula 1 will be attracting me since all I hear about the sport is bad things, not about the racing.

      Perhaps this is why Formula 1 is declining while other series like World Endurance Series is climbing higher and higher?

    18. Trust me the Italian Gp isn’t going anywhere because Ferrari will never allow it to be dropped as its far too important to them.

      With regards to Germany, A lot of the financial problems the Nurburgring have had were of there own doing & would almost certainly still have happened even if they were getting the F1 race for free because the circuit was simply badly mis-managed through most of the last decade & they were losing millions on badly throught out ventures outside of F1.

      1. But those “value adding” ventures were exactly what Bernie was always telling the tracks they should do to make a profit from F1.

    19. I’d miss Monza solely because I think the race carries a little bit more excitement when Ferrari can do good.

    20. I think this debate suffers a degree of Euro-centricity. Formula 1 is a great sport, and there is a global audience to sell it to, so diluting the concentration of European races is not nearly as much as of an sporting issue, provided the spectacle remains comparably across the globe, as the loss of European racetracks. Personally, I would be devastated if the Nurburgring, a track I love, ends up on the Imola scrapheap as it is looking set to do.

      Returning to the issue at hand, if a European race is traded for a Mexican or American round, we do not loose the fanbase. Fans and a worldclass racetrack: those are requisites of a grand prix and [sorry for getting all liberal-internationalist on y’all] whether that country is European, African, Asian or American ultimately doesn’t matter to me.

      That, however, is said without considering a crucial factor: heritage. Some races, Monza would be my preferential example as an Italian resident for several years, provide a track and a fanbase of timeless quality. These have been dubbed the “untouchable” races, but this is an apparent contradiction in terms, since we have lost the once “untouchable” San Marino GP, the French GP and the German GP in the past decade. Or rather we have lost the unfavoured sibling of the Italian GP, the GP in a country that no longer has any great racetracks and we have temporarily lost the race that will likely be flung back onto the calendar as an essential marketing event for the reigning constructors champions. In terms of the threat to Monza, we only need to think the threats levelled at the circuit is anything more than a negotiating gambit once ticket prices start to rise and the crowds start to stay at home. Monza is no Nurburgring: it does not host major series such the DTM and WEC, or receive copious credits from track-days; it is dependant on the Grand Prix and Bernie knows it.

      The biggest problem with the future of the calendar is not epitomised by the Nurburgring, but by the Indian or Korean Grands Prix: failed experiments costing hundreds of millions. In short, the biggest problem is that Bernie is seemingly of the opinion, in spite of the Indian, Korean and Turkish failures, that interest from a petrochemical or banking organization can mitigate a lack of national enthusiasm or on-track spectacle, that the words “F1 is in town” will excite those with who had no prior interest in the F1 product. No Bernie, the rest of the world is not just like a bigger Europe…

      1. @countrygent Another crucial factor is the fact that grassroots racing simply doesn’t exist in F1’s new countris the way it does in Europe.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard Excellent point, but how can grass-roots motorsport hope to establish without an F1 experience to aspire to? Brazil now has a strong grass-roots infrastructure, as does Spain, infrastructure that would unlikely exist without a fanbase rejuvenated by home hero success. Equally the European grass-roots scene is currently in decline amid a strengthening international infrastructure.

    21. Other countries like South Korea and Turkey had poor turnout on race day and quickly fell by the wayside. F1’s heritage is being sold to the highest bidder for tracks that will be off the calendar in a few years time anyway.

      Bernie would hold a race in Syria for the right price.

      1. Even better mate. I’d say he’d hold a Grand Prix of the Islamic State if ISIS came up with money, and then claim sports and politics are independent of each other when challenged on it.

    22. Hockenheim for me was a track with the long straight. The view of the cars passing by the line of trees was special and that was traditional. They messed up the track with the redesign IMO.

      As for Monza dropping out/Italy not having a race, that won’t happen as long as Ferrari is in F1. They will find a replacement inside Italy somewhere.

      Finally, if people are paying money to watch/host the race, it makes sense to go there rather than keeping it at places where they don’t visit. Only request would be to divert more of that money to the teams to keep them running efficiently.

      1. @evered7

        As for Monza dropping out/Italy not having a race, that won’t happen as long as Ferrari is in F1. They will find a replacement inside Italy somewhere.

        I can’t help but doubt that.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard I believe Ferrari have the resource to organize a GP on their own like RB do it for A1ring. Only they would do it as Mugello instead of Monza. Either way, Italy is too big to be lost from the grid.
          I also believe Mercedes didn’t do their best to save the German GP this year. Being the reigning champions, they should have gone the length to ensure there was a GP in Germany this year. This should have been confirmed before the start of the year after addressing all the difficulties that the track was facing.

    23. Tom (@11mcgratht)
      7th April 2015, 17:54

      I wonder how long it will be before Bernie is proposing an Islamic State Grand Prix? I hear they have lots of money…

    24. The more I think about it, the more I think what F1 really needs is a rival series. Something which can deliver all the show and excitement of F1, but properly managed and affordable for tracks and fans alike.

      There are two main issues; the cost of participation, and the cost of hosting. The latter is affected by the financial setup of the sport. Most sports pay for the use of circuits, whereas F1 charges millions for the right to host a GP. Hence, the ticket prices are high. The hosting costs are extortionate because FOM wants to rake in tons of cash. There’s nothing tricky to it – the business model of F1 is that F1 is a product which is sold to circuits and to TV distributors, and then a portion of that money is kept by the owners and a (smaller) portion is distributed (unfairly) between the competitors.

      The first point is a little harder to quantify. F1 participation is expensive because the teams have to design and build their own cars, and the most successful teams are usually the ones which spend the most on doing that. Again, this isn’t awfully complicated, though obviously there are depths there, and spending the most as we have seen doesn’t guarantee success.

      But fundamentally, these high costs are simply an inevitable consequence of the structure of the sport – both financial and sporting. There isn’t anything inherent in the actual ‘product’ that requires a huge investment of wealth. Well, comparatively of course. Such things are alway expensive, by nature of what they are, but the enormous expense is basically unnecessary. What I’m saying is that if you were to create a motorsport ‘product’ which was comparable to F1, it wouldn’t need to be expensive. Especially if your goal wasn’t to accumulate enormous Scrooge McDuckian piles of money. There are people who could do it of course. Red Bull seems like a very obvious choice. They have already seen success in setting up other sporting ventures, and there’s no reason they couldn’t do it with a premiere motorsport. In fact, it makes perfect logical sense. They could set up a motorsport, with cars which are comparable in performance to F1 (faster, even – imagine the kudos they’d have from the bragging rights to setting lap records on the world’s greatest race tracks!), then they pay a nominal fee to each of the circuits where they want to stage an event. They could then recoup their money from ticket fees, as well as concessions and advertising space around the tracks. It’s how most motorsports do it. They could agree TV deals or just host it all themselves online – they already have the infrastructure and it would work well alongside their other ventures.

      It could be a one-make series. Perhaps taking design cues from the awesome concepts they’ve already developed for Gran Turismo. Initial development costs would be fairly high, but if enough teams paid for participation, that could be recouped within the first year. Yes, it would suffer through not having the variation or innovation of F1, but as a result the racing would be closer and every driver on the grid would either win or lose based on nothing other than their own skill. Cars could be loud, fast, and visually exciting. As well as selling slots to teams, they could also have invitational spots on the grid, to attract drivers from all sorts of disciplines, as well as the odd hero of yesteryear.

      Who genuinely wouldn’t want to see that? Who wouldn’t pay to go to an event like that, where they would put on wall to wall entertainment and every event would have its own unique set of supporting races and features.

      The point of this? F1 has an horrific financial structure. That financial structure is reliant on the fact that they alone provide that level of product. With genuine competition, F1 would need to raise its game, and the success of a rival series would highlight the multitudinal failures of F1. A bit of healthy competition would force F1 to do better, and force it to address the massive cost issues. Will it ever happen? Who knows. Probably not. But I’d definitely pay money to see it, and if I’m at all representative of your average motorsport fan, then so would lots of other people.

      1. Red Bull does A1GP (minus the nations thing), maybe?

      2. How is this for an idea. Not absolute and do welcome your feedback, but perhaps something like this could work:

        – Car is divided into 5 parts: Aero/Wings, Brakes/Suspension, Chassis, Engine, KERS/ERS
        – Teams that produce these parts in house must make these available for other teams to purchase at a capped price.
        – No team can have more than 3 parts purchased from 1 team, unless they are that specific team.

        The investment currently to get into F1 let alone to be competitive is staggering. My logic behind such an approach is it provides a pretty set cost to be somewhat competitive, not just present on the grid. Given the parts can be sold to other teams it also allows those teams with a greater infrastructure to do as they please. Let them spend. The plus side of this by making these parts available is the larger teams can recoup a large amount of their R&D costs by making these available to the smaller teams.

        In the current environment where it is proving hard to win without being aligned to an engine manufacturer this allows far greater grid numbers, while not changing the grid order too much. Realistically those that have invested the most over time would still hold the competitive edge in the sport, while not running away with it.

    25. Formula 1 is slowly being ruined. The pinnacle of motorsport has turned into a complete disaster. Great classic tracks are going and some are ruined. The cars look nowhere near as good as they used to do. The sounds are not as good as they used to be. Before, you could race flat out and now you have to manage things like fuel and tyres. There are stupid gimmicks like DRS which make battles boring. There are distracting and unnecessary CGI messages from Bernie. Less people are watching. More pay-to-watch TV networks are acquiring F1 rights. Teams are losing money and leaving the sport. Seven or eight years ago, I used to be excited to wake up to an F1 race. Now, I’m losing hope in the sport.

      1. Before, you could race flat out and now you have to manage things like fuel and tyres

        @ultimateuzair When was this ‘before’ which we always hear about. These things are not new to F1, just because we didn’t know so much about it in the past doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. The teams must do this regardless of the formula, failing to do so would mean running at a disadvantage to the cleverer teams able to manage fuel and tyres better. In the past some aspects were less understood but engineers can’t unlearn what they know and teams/drivers are not going to stop managing all aspects of their performance to seek the ultimate result.

        Regardless of that and other points in your opening argument I agree with everything after your sixth sentence!

    26. Races in Monza were boring in the last years.

    27. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      7th April 2015, 22:11

      So long as F1 is set up in a way that countries/circuits have to pay huge fees to put on a race this is going to keep on happening. We all know where the money is in the world, and it isn’t central Europe. Until there is a fundamental change to the way the sport is operated I’m afraid we’re just going to have to put up with more and more car parks in non-traditional F1 countries.

    28. Frustrated F1 fans. Rebel against the ridiculous, soulless, money grabbing system in place in F1. Enjoy real, wheel to wheel racing, with interesting and fun characters up and down the paddock. Come over to the dark side: watch MotoGP.

      1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend So… we should stop watching a sport dominated by Mercedes and switch to another sport dominated by Marques? When MotoGP requires 4 wheels on its wagons, then give me a shout out.

    29. Is F1’s European heritage all being lost at the moment? Until this article I would have agreed but looking more closely I don’t actually think that the data above supports this.

      Sorting the list of countries by the year they last hosted a GP we see that there remain 19 nations out of a total of 31 in total. Of those 12 nations who have lost a grand prix only 6 are European and one of those is Switzerland due to their banning of motorsport following the Le Mans disaster in 1955 (the later Swiss GP wasn’t in Switzerland). Another is Germany which may (I hope) turn out to be a temporary omission.

      Looking at the countries most recently losing Grand Prix racing we have:

      Germany 2014 (hopefully temporary)
      Korea & India 2013 and Turkey 2011 (relatively short lived host nations)
      France 2008 (ok – an historic grand prix lost, but Magny Cours was hardly considered a great venue)
      Argentina 1998 (we’re going back 17 years now)

      So there is no indication that we are currently in a period of unreasonable loss of European F1 racing, the biggest influence on the proportion of F1 races in Europe has been the overall growth in the number of races rather than a loss of European events in recent years. I suspect that our perception is affected by Bernie’s spin which he uses to put pressure on traditional venues to sign up to new contracts.

      1. @jerseyf1 Nice to hear an alternative point of view. Seems like Europe isn’t missing out much like it is made to believe. Imola was lost after 2006 I think. You must include that in your list as well I suppose. I love the 2005/2006 battles between Schumi/Alonso and wish there were more of it.

        Valencia was included to host the European races but that has been shifted to Azerbaijan now. Russia has been included as well along with the return of A1 ring. The race calendar is bigger than what it was earlier and Europe is given a spot wherever possible IMO.

    30. F1 doesn’t deserve Monza.

    31. If it were up to the fans of the sport, the cars would look like they did in 1998-2008, have unrestricted 980bhp V10s and no DRS. They would still be racing at grand old circuits like Brands, Old Hockenheim, and Imola, not flat racetracks in the middle of the desert in corrupt nations. It will likely never be this way again, but it is certainly fun to dream about, and a big reason why i love classic F1 races, because it brings you back to the good days.

    32. antonyob (@)
      8th April 2015, 9:29

      I think if you lose a circuit in an economic powerhouse like Germany it is cause for concern but outside of Britain, track attendance has always waxed and waned dependant on success. Spain used to have 2 men and a dog before Alonso.

      I wouldn’t mind so much if Asia and co embraced F1 but apart from the governments, no-ones interested, nobody goes. Its a grand folly and they are just as likely to drop out as drop in if the oil or whatever funds them runs out.

      On the plus side we have the beautiful Redbull ring and there are still European grand prix so use them or lose them.

      See you in Austria.

    33. @keithcollantine Could anyone perhaps help me trying to rewatch the 2009 or 2011 German GP?

    34. The same is happening the Olympics with western countries bowing out and only undemocratic ones willing to host, look at 2022 as the latest example.

      Of course F1 is a WORLD championship so not correct to have too many European races anyway.

      Other pluses are new, updated tracks and different environments, both climate and audience. It would be great just to be free of the booing that seems to be a western European thing.

    35. This is the result not only of the short-sighted commercial greed of the FOG but also a hang-over from the Schumacher years 2000-4. Not only did Schumacher win five straight Championships but recently, compatriot Vettel won four on the trot to make it a total of nine out of the last fifteen. Any sport suffers when one team or one player is too dominant. For fans to travel to races, year after year, their driver has to be seen to have a realistic chance of at least an upset win, but if year after year, it is one team and one driver, interest flags.

      During their championship-winning years, Schumacher and Vettel won no less than 82 out of 162 races. With such statistics, it’s easy to see why so many fans suspect the FIA to have been in the pocket of first Ferrari and then Red Bull. With seemingly another long period of dominance by Mercedes and Hamilton looming, is it a wonder that F1 is not as attractive as it used to be before the year 2000?

    36. F1 is outpricing itself and moving away from its grass roots supporters. Australia has just followed many other countries by moving to a pay tv structure. I for one will not hand my money over to muppet murdoch only to view F1 because the rest of pay tv repetitive boredom. It has truley become all about how to make the most amount money possible and does cater to fans. I wonder if Bernie can understand why their are less eyes watching this sport, which is quite simple. Not everyone want s to pay for TV.

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