Lately, the German Grand Prix has looked to be in danger, with rumours of its removal from the Formula 1 season. This would be unthinkable for such a historic event.
In anticipation of this weekend’s race, we take a look at its history, along with the great drivers to come out of Germany. We also look at the upcoming race.
The Formula 1 races were originally held at the famous (or infamous) Nurburgring, with later races switching to the relatively new Hockenheim circuit. Hockenheim was the home of the German Grand Prix for many years, before an agreement was reached with the Nurburgring to alternate hosting duties from 2007.
Now that the Nurburgring has succumbed to financial problems, it is no longer able to host the grand prix, meaning the race is only held every other year.
Hockenheim has seen more than its fair share of drama over the years (Piquet punching Salazar in 1982, Prost running out of gas and getting out to push his car in 1986, and Montoya and Raikkonen’s battle in 2002) but is also remembered for claiming the lives of Jim Clark and Patrick Depailler. The legendary Jim Clark crashed mid-race, while Depailler died during a private testing session.
To try to improve safety, and to give more spectators a better chance of seeing the action, Hockenheim was redesigned in the early part of the twenty-first century, meaning the track lost a great deal of its original character. The circuit was drastically reduced in length, with the forest section being sacrificed to make way for more tight corners. This did not go down well with all of the drivers and teams, with some expressing a preference for the old layout.
Germany has produced some of the all-time great racing drivers — take Michael Schumacher, Wolfgang von Trips and Sebastian Vettel to name but a few. von Trips probably would have been world champion in 1961, but sadly lost his life that year in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Von Trips’s car made contact with Jim Clark’s, spinning von Trips off the track. His car hurtled through the air, hitting a barrier and killing fifteen spectators.
Michael Schumacher needs no introduction; the seven-time world champion being the most successful grand prix driver of all time. His rivalries with Fernando Alonso and Mika Hakkinen are legendary, but it is unfortunate that his battle with Ayrton Senna was cut tragically short. As Schumacher fights to recover from brain injuries suffered during a skiing accident, we can only hope his recovery continues.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will surely be hoping for a good result at his home grand prix. He has endured a difficult time at Ferrari of late, with the team seemingly going backwards this year. Few would question his racecraft, but can he emulate Schumacher and help to revive the struggling Ferrari team?
Formula 1 seems to have lost a lot of its German fan base in recent years, with races being relatively poorly attended. Some might say this is down to Michael Schumacher’s retirement, but surely Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, not to mention the dominant Mercedes team, might have coaxed the fans back?
As we head into Sunday, Mercedes once again look strong with Rosberg clinching pole with Hamilton in second and Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen closing in in third and fourth respectively.
There have been very encouraging signs at Red Bull, with the dynamic duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen always likely to provide great entertainment — and great results for their team.
Could we see a good weekend for McLaren and Force India? McLaren are showing great improvement and there is now a quiet confidence running through the team.
Force India have two solid drivers in Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, and they both seem to be able to get the best out of the car. If they get the set-up right, they have a chance of scoring some decent points.
Lewis Hamilton is now in the lead of the driver’s standings, toppling Rosberg at the last race. He is a great front-runner and he has, of course, been in this position before.
Can Rosberg bite back before it’s too late?