Review of Hockenheim 2016
- 1st August 2016, 20:47 at 8:47 pm #326413Ed FaulknerParticipant
I, and a good friend, have been to Hockenheim twice now, 2014 and this year. We camped both times, and drove from the UK. Thought it’d be useful to others to review the facilties, circuit and general atmosphere. I know Hockenheim isn’t guaranteed a place on the calendar in the future but you never know!
We drove from the UK, fairly easy to get there on just 3 or 4 motorways. The circuit is directly next to a motorway and so it has good links in most directions. Signage when you are in the town isn’t great, there are several different camp sites which aren’t sign posted directly so it’s worth printing off a map from the official website before you go. We parked at the camp site, so I can’t say what parking is like if you just go for the day, but it seems there was a lot of on street parking so it could be difficult.
Another tip I’d suggest is, if you don’t mind missing the podium, is leave 4 or 5 lapse before the end, it’ll save you hours trying to get out of the circuit, cap park, and town. We did this year and saved a lot of time, we passed under the bridge out of the circuit and they were queuing to get onto the bridge! The alternative is to hang around the circuit for a couple of hours after the race.
We stayed in the C3 site, which is very close to the circuit, literally a couple of minutes walk. It’s in a wooded area, and so there isn’t designated places, you have to rock up and pick a place which suits you. This tends to mean it gets a bit messy with people’s spaces being interlinked. This didn’t bother us but if you like your own space keep this in mind. We arrived on the Thursday morning, quite early. I wouldn’t leave it too late as it tends to fill up quite quick. If you want electricity supply then you need to get there early. The shower and toilet facilities are good, however there always tend to be a queue for them all times of the day and night, be prepared for this. And the music, well I guess most people reading this will have camped at F1 weekends before and so used to the atmosphere. Loud music is played in the camp site from about 10am thru to about 3am. If you don’t like this, don’t camp. The German fans love a party, and their taste in music isn’t for everyone, buts it’s quite fun. YouTube “Look at my horse”, the group next to us loved this song and played it over and over. I now know the words by heart and find myself singing it from time to time! Thanks Germany!! Anyway, camping is fun, and part of the experience, as long as you throw yourself into it you’ll enjoy it.
I love Hockenheim, I was a massive fan of the old track, but even with the changes the place is still one of my favorite historic circuits. Being there walking around it is a great experience, seeing the corners, memorial, old track etc. However it does feel old. I get the sense that it hasn’t really moved on from the 80’s. The facilities are not very modern, and it doesn’t cater very well to a good attendance. The food and drink stands always have long queues and can be over priced, and the toilets always have 20 people queueing outside them. But the grandstands are good, and the views from them are good too. All have tv screens, and the seats have a lot of leg room. The Mercedes grandstand is the one you want if you can afford it, great views over the crucial part of the circuit where all the action happens. But the stadium section has a good atmosphere and the sound of the cheering is great to be part of. Be prepared to queue to get in and get out of your grandstand as there entrances are limited. Access for the disabled is limited too, and I would check carefully before booking if you have any mobility issues.
I get the feeling that if they spent some money on improving the general status of the circuit attendance would increase. We spent €99 on your tickets for a 3 day innertribune seat, which was an early deal and was great value. All in all, for that price, I can’t complain, but as I have said if you can afford the Merc grandstand then do it, you won’t be disappointed.
Another thing of note is the mobile signal, I use the F1 app and had good signal so it worked fine, my mate couldn’t get any data work in the circuit at all. If you want to rely on the app for commercial or timing then you might be disappointed with the data signal there.
Food and drink
Like most circuits, the food is limited to hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and chips. Although there is a nice food court area just opposite the main grid grandstand that has a lot of varied food and drink stands. It is pricey though, €7 for hot dog and chips. €3 for a coke, €4 for a beer. But again in my experience this is fairly standard for circuits.
They were checking bags but have no problem with you taking your own food and drink in so if you want to save some money then do that. Seating in the food and drink areas is very limited, indeed I wouldn’t expect to get a seat unless you’re very lucky. This could be difficult with kids so be aware.
Hockenheim is a great place to go to, this year’s race may not have been a classic, but the German fans are very passionate which adds to the atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed our 2 visits, and would go back. Having been to Budapest, Barcelona, Silverstone and Monza as well as Hockenheim, I’d suggest that Germany comes in the middle of that list in terms of facilities but if you are looking for a cheap (ish) overseas race to watch, give Germany some serious thought. It may be old in many respects which is both a good and a bad thing at times, but it was still a joy to be there.
If you have any questions or want to know something specific add a message here and I’ll try to answer.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.