The hockenheimring could even imagine its role as a formula 1 lug-fuller during the corona crisis. The management of the baden traditional course is open to the possibility of holding a grand prix in the emergency calendar this summer.
"We were given a concrete request and did not close our minds to talks," jorn teske, who alongside jochen nerpel runs the business on the course in north baden, told the deutsche presse agency. "We are in irregular and loose exchange with the rights holders anyway."But the conditions are far from being discussed.
The "frankfurter allgemeine zeitung" had reported that the hockenheimring was also playing a role in the thoughts of the formula 1 strategists. The rights holder approached the organizer of the germany grand prix with a corresponding inquiry. One of the questions asked was about the necessary lead time.
"Within a week, the alignment would be feasible for us in a significantly slimmed-down version," nerpel told the german press agency. The reduction or even the omission of auand and personnel could be conceivable in all directions at a ghost race: parking lots, security guards, sponsor hospitality.
Aspects such as spectator activation and ticketing would not apply in such an emergency situation anyway. In the past, the hockenheimring started advance ticket sales a year before the next race. Since fan income, on which the circuit urgently depends, was eliminated this time, the rights holder or a sponsor had to step in financially to a large extent.
The advantages of the circuit are all too familiar to the formula 1 bosses in the crisis: the hockenheimring has tradition, experience and reliability. The permanent circuit continues to be certified as a "grade 1" track by the fia, the world’s governing body for automobiles. This means that races of the motorsport king class could also be held there.
Last year, the formula 1 race was held for the 37th time. The motodrom hosted the event for the first time. But the spectacular german race could only be saved by a sponsorship from mercedes. For 2020, the rough price of germany had not been financially feasible for the operators. "As the hockenheimring, we can’t afford to run a deficit," said nerpel, referring to the high subsidies received by other circuits from sponsors or the respective state.
Formula 1 tries to save its season in the corona crisis. "One must not forget how many jobs are linked to formula 1. That’s always used as an argument in soccer, but formula 1 teams are also rough companies," former driver ralf schumacher told the newspaper bild. Up to 18 grand prix to be run in 2020. If fewer than 15 races were to be held, the TV broadcasters had the option of asking for a discount.
The first races are to be held in july and august without spectators in europe, the new start is planned for the 5. July planned in spielberg. Whether the government in austria will allow the grand prix, however, "depends totally on what kind of security concept the organizers come up with," health minister rudolf anschober (grune) told o1’s "journal um acht".
From september on, races on other continents are also targeted. A ghost race in hockenheim was probably held in the europe window in case of an agreement. However, the track operators face many uncertainties in their planning because of the government’s requirements. Rough events in germany are still allowed until 31. August prohibited. "All our plans can obviously change because we have a lot of problems to solve," said formula 1 boss chase carey.
"Against the backdrop of the corona virus, i can basically imagine a formula 1 race without an audience on the ring," explained hockenheim’s mayor marcus zeitler (CDU). "The health of all those involved is our top priority. The race must therefore be organizationally feasible for the ring with sufficient lead time."At the end of the day, there has to be at least a "black zero" in economic terms.
Starting next week, the opening on the hockenheimring will continue on a smaller scale for the time being. There’s something to watch at the place where the formula 1 might be held again: a drive-in movie theater.