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Germany Could Disappear From Formula 1 Map in 2010

Germany could be without a Formula One race for the first time in half a century in 2010 for financial reasons, it emerged on Sunday.

Brazil's Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, Germany's Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher and Finland's McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen, from left, celebrate during the winner's ceremony of the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at the Hockenheimring circuit in Hockenheim, southern Germany, Sunday July 30, 2006.

Will F1 drivers not celebrate in Germany in the future?

Officials from the Nuerburgring said they would be unable to stage the 2010 German Grand Prix if the original cash-strapped host Hockenheim had to withdraw.

"We cannot afford that," Nuerburgring general manager Walter Kafitz told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Hockenheim and the Nuerburgring currently share the German Grand Prix, with this year's race in Hockenheim and the 2009 edition on the Nuerburgring.

Hockenheim's ability to stage the 2010 race came under threat when the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where the track is located, announced on Friday that it will not provide funds for the troubled organizers.

"There will be no more Formula One in Hockenheim without state funds," Hockenheim boss Josef Schmidt told Sunday's edition of Der Tagesspiegel paper.

Huge deficit

Hockenheim ran up a deficit of more than 5 million euros ($6.3 million) from the 2008 race and would have similar losses in 2010. Kafitz said that Nuerburgring's losses in 2007 were in the same range.

Germany was last without a Formula One race in 1960. The country of record champion Michael Schumacher staged two races 1995-2006, the Germans Grand Prix in Hockenheim and European GP on the Nuerburgring.

The country has five drivers in the sport, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Sutil, Timo Glock and Nico Rosberg. Car makers Mercedes and BMW are also big F1 players, and the Toyota team is based near Cologne.

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