JUNE 7, 1999
Four more years for the Nurburgring
THERE will be a Grand Prix at the Nurburgring every year until the end of 2004. A deal was struck recently between Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and Walter Kafitz, the boss of Nurburgring GmbH, the company which runs the famous track in Germany's Eifel Mountains. Nurburgring will not, however, get the German Grand Prix as that is staying at Hockenheim and it is likely that the event will continue to be known as the European Grand Prix - although other European countries may object to German domination of an event which is supposed to switch between other European tracks.
A possible compromise is to have the race at the Nurburgring called the Luxembourg Grand Prix as happened a couple of years ago.
The only problem for the track is that its September date has gone to Indianapolis and so the Nurburgring will have to find a new date on the calendar. That cannot be in the midsummer as that would create competition with Hockenheim and the Austrian GP and it is unlikely that the race could go later in the year because of poor weather, so it is most likely that there will have to be a late Spring date, possibly at around this time of year.
The 2000 Formula 1 calendar is not expected to come up for discussion before August, although there may be an early draft after the next FIA World Motor Sport Council.
One thing is for certain. Pressure for dates will be greater than ever with new races planned in America, China and SouthÊAfrica. The events thought to be under threat are Belgium, Hungary and Canada.