Start, Hockenheimring, 2001

Alonso doesn’t miss old Hockenheimring F1 layout

2018 German Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, who competed in the final German Grand Prix to take place on the old Hockenheimring in 2001, doesn’t feel the change in layout is a great loss to Formula 1.

The Hockenheim circuit was shortened in 2002, removing its distinctive long straights. The revised layout received a mixed reaction from drivers and fans.

However Alonso says the new circuit, which has been in use since 2002, is an improvement in some respects.

Asked whether the not having the original Hockenheim was a loss for the sport, Alonso said: “It was different, I don’t know that it was better or worse. It’s difficult to judge, the races were a long time ago.

“I think race tracks they keep always changing. We have the new generation of tracks like Bahrain or Abu Dhabi and some others. We have some street circuits like Baku and some modifications to the traditional circuits as well, like Parabolica in Monza now is the asphalt run-off area.

“So it seems that always when we change something we have some, let’s say, regrets and we prefer to old-school circuits or the old Hockenheim.

“But I think when they did the modifications it was for a reason it was maybe for safety, for more a stadium concept where the fans can get more view from a larger part of the circuit. If they did this for a reason, and for a good reason normally, we should stick with that reason.

“I liked the old Hockenheim and I like the new Hockenheim. I like both and if for the spectators it’s better this one, I’m happy for the compromise and the best result.”

Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen are the only drivers in F1 today who were racing in the championship when the original Hockenheim was still on the calendar.

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12 comments on “Alonso doesn’t miss old Hockenheimring F1 layout”

  1. I always loved the old layout, I loved that it offered a unique challenge & was unlike anything else on the calendar. Watching the cars blast through the forest at 200mph+ as they tried to hit the braking points into the 3 very different chicanes & then go through the stadium section with next to no downforce on the cars was always fun to watch.

    The new layout is dull & uninteresting. It’s not a bad circuit but it’s also just not especially good. There’s nothing unique about it & it lacks anything that makes it stand out from other circuits.

    The fact that they destroyed the old track in order to make this one still makes me a little angry.

    1. I think the racing was better & more interesting on the old layout as well. Always featured some great slip-streaming battles with some good side by side racing into the 4 braking zones after each straight.

      For instance from the last race held on it.

      1. Yes, was great, and MSC won once as well, in 1995 with benetton!

        I really liked that layout, it was better than monza, the fastest track of modern times.

        Now it’s just another track.

        1. Oh, and note, the last race at this track, like the photo shows, had williams bring the undisputed best car, thanks mainly to their engine, in a year where ferrari dominated the title.

          I still have a qualifying recording in VHS of that race, williams were unbeatable, 3-4 tenths on ferrari which fought with mclaren, even in the race, before schumacher had issues there was no chance to keep up with the williams, and now they’re in the bottom.

  2. I loved to drive the old layout in GP3. With the number 4 car from Irvine just to be teammates with Michael, seeing the beautiful McLaren livery on the grid, very low downforce and a V10 engine… good times.

  3. The issue with the old lay out it was something like 44 laps- not value of money from a grandstand.
    Martin Bundle did make the great comment “I was driving a Zakspeed and holding on for dear life”.

    1. @garns It used to be 45 laps… 1 lap more than we see at Spa.

      I also never recall anybody really complaining about the lower number of laps, Same as you don’t hear anybody complain about it at Spa now.

    2. @garns, as he also commented though, if you were a driver who had a good car, you probably were keener on Hockenheim given it put the onus on the car instead of the driver. By contrast, if you had a poor car, Hockenheim was a pretty dull slog of a race given that you knew that you’d usually end up miles behind the next car on track.

  4. I miss it, although I hated those chicanes, that from Ostkurve in special.

  5. I don’t miss the old Hockenheimring per se, but I do miss the lack of diversity of tracks. I miss the days where the cars with the powerful engines had a chance to win this race, but maybe they wouldn’t be competitive at other venues. The calendar now has a lot of tracks which are very similar which doesn’t help meet the desire of the causal fans who want to see a wider array of different race winners.

    1. That’s my point too. One thing I would like to raise up: the stadium section is still the same as it was before the changes (apart from minor change in the first corner as it goes slightly left nowadays), but as the current circuit needs overall more downforce, it isn’t similar challenge as it was with tiny wings.

  6. As an actual circuit, it wasn’t that amazing to drive on (Eddie Irvine once said it was just ‘accelerate, stop, accelerate, stop’), but there was just something really cool about blasting into the forest at some 215mph, plus it was the first circuit I ever drove on in any F1 video game, so it does hold a nostalgic place for me personally.

    But it’s interesting to note that the German GP used to be held at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife for a while, then it moved to Hockenheim for 1977, a circuit which some drivers weren’t too keen on, then in 1984, the Nürburgring returned with a new circuit that some drivers referred to as sanitised and boring, and then in 2002, the Hockenheim was completely redesigned and has arguably lost its character and originality. It does feel like the German GP circuits have been getting progressively worse over the year.

    What saddens me most about the redesign is that all historic traces of the old circuit have virtually disappeared.

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