An F1 Grand Prix will take place at the iconic, financially troubled Nürburgring circuit on July 7, ending months of uncertainty. Owing to contractual complications, the name "German" Grand Prix is still in doubt.
The Nürburgring race circuit will host a Formula One race on July 7, after months of closed-door talks between multiple parties seeking to salvage the event.
The state government in Rhineland-Palatinate, which owns the majority of the circuit along with a local municipality, announced that there had been a breakthrough late on Wednesday as regional media uncovered the story. The Nürburgring GmbH holding company, which filed for insolvency last July, confirmed the news on Thursday.
"The long period of uncertainty over the site of the pinnacle of motorsport in Germany has ended," the operating company said in a statement.
German F1 stars praise the deal
Reigning three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said he was happy about the move, praising the atmosphere around possibly the world's most famous circuit.
"The Nürburgring resonates with everyone and it is very important to all of us to race there," Vettel told the German DPA news agency, saying that the circuit, "and everything else that goes with it," was an experience. "We cannot let this experience die out."
The 25-year-old Red Bull driver, for all his success, is yet to win a race on home soil. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg told DPA that he was grateful to "everyone involved, that a good solution has been struck from the perspective of German fans. They were the ones really suffering in all this."
The company's new administrator Karl-Josef Schmidt struck a deal with Formula One's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone in Cologne on Wednesday.
Insolvency administrator Thomas Schmidt thanked Ecclestone, saying "with his commitment to the legendary racetrack, he is delivering a significant and valuable contribution to the Nürburgring."
Venues typically pay large, usually undisclosed, fees to the Formula One series in order to host a race - with the development prompting speculation that the embattled circuit might have received a "discount." This is the reason why the German Grand Prix traditionally alternates between the Nürburgring and the other major Hockenheimring track to the south.
The breakthrough came less than a week after the commercial leaseholders of another company formerly running the circuit, Kai Richter and Georg Lindner, stepped aside.
Richter and Lindner were the brains behind a major renovation, started in 2006, that was supposed to turn the remote, rural site from a motorsports venue into a leisure complex. The venture, for which promised private funding never materialized, went over budget and pushed the circuit deep into debt - ultimately leading to July's insolvency and further government investment.
Richter and Lindner's leaseholding company previously negotiated with Ecclestone, meaning Nürburgring Automotive GmbH may still seek to claim the rights to the race's traditional title, the "German Grand Prix." It is therefore possible that the race will instead be labeled the "European" Grand Prix.
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