Germany's Nürburgring racetrack is facing an uncertain future as its owner is set to file for insolvency, the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, where the track is located, has announced.
Kurt Beck, the state premier, blamed the EU for dithering over a decision on state aid to the struggling Nürburgring GmbH, which owns the iconic German racetrack. Rhineland-Palatinate and the municipality of Ahrweiler in turn own Nürburgring GmbH.
Beck had hoped that the European Commission would swiftly approve 13 million euros ($16 million) in aid, which could have kept the company going for another six months.
"But at the end of last week, [the Commission] indicated that it may not reach a positive decision on the application for aid before July 30," a statement by the state said.
Theme park a damp squib
The Nürburgring owner has been struggling to keep its head above water, due in part to on ongoing dispute with the track's operators, Nürburgring Automotive GmbH (NAG) over leasing fees.
Rhineland-Palatinate has threatened to cancel its leasing contract with NAG, but NAG said on Wednesday that it had agreed on a concept with Formula One figurehead Bernie Ecclestone last week. NAG also said it was looking to secure commitments for annual rock festival Rock am Ring and the ADAC Truck Grand Prix for the coming years.
The regional government had also tried to boost the region's potential with a racing-themed amusement park near the track, but it fell well short of expectations.
The Nürburgring race track opened in 1927 and was refurbished in 1984. Since 2007, the German Formula One Grand Prix has alternated between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim.
ng/mkg (Reuters, dapd)