FEBRUARY 9, 2015
Ecclestone says German GP not dead yet
The 2015 German grand prix is not dead yet.
One week ago, Bernie Ecclestone told a German correspondent that the country will fall off this year's schedule.
He quickly backtracked, but it is true that neither the embattled Nurburgring nor Hockenheim currently have a deal in place to host the July race.
"I hope this is all just sabre-rattling," Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said.
Indeed, it now emerges that none of the three key parties - F1 supremo Ecclestone nor the two German circuits - have given up.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, Ecclestone informed the powerful strategy group at its meeting in Paris last Thursday that while time is running out, negotiations are still taking place.
"Ecclestone also made clear that there is no substitute race in the event of a cancellation. Then there would only be 19 grands prix on the calendar," wrote correspondent Michael Schmidt.
Sport Bild claims that one saviour could be Mercedes, for whom Germany is its key home race.
The publication claims that it is possible the German giant and reigning world champions will fund the difference between Ecclestone's race fee demands and Hockenheim's projected loss.
And Nurburgring spokesman Carsten Schumacher is quoted by DPA news agency: "In the interest of motor sport fans and the region, we are willing to accept a reasonable loss."
Lauda, meanwhile, said he is baffled as to why German promoters cannot afford to keep F1 in the country.
"Actually, it should be easy this year," said the F1 legend. "On one hand you have Vettel in a Ferrari, while on the other you have the duel between the Mercedes drivers.
"If Austria, Singapore, Austin and Silverstone are able to fill their houses, Hockenheim should be able to as well," Lauda added.