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GP Week : Issue 217
There will be no German Grand Prix in 2015, the FIA's World Motorsport Council confirming its much expected demise last week. The race had only ever been provisionally included on the 2015 calendar as negotiations bet ween Bernie Ecclestone and the promoter went on behind the scenes. At the heart of the problem was the fact the Nurburgring, due to host the Grand Prix this year as par t of its share arrangement with Hockenheim, is struggling financially. Having invested huge sums of money to improve surrounding facilities in 2009 the venue struggled to make debt repayments which led to the site being sold in May 2013, Ecclestone making a $50million bid. Russian billionaire Victor Kharitonin ultimately purchased the venue but even still it has continued to struggle. It was thought the event could relocate to Hockenheim, with circuit boss Georg Seiler stating it would be willing to host the race, however the stumbling block remained the hosting fees required by Formula One Group. Even with the added sweetner of Mercedes picking up the tab for half of any losses made by the event no deal could be reached, a conclusion confirmed by the World Motorsport Council. " T he German Grand Prix has been withdrawn as the [Commerical Rights Holder] and promoter did not reach agreement," read a statement from the World Motorsport Council following its meeting in Geneva. Rubbing salt into the wound for German fans, Ecclestone refused to confirm whether the event would reappear for 2016, despite the event having a contract. " T hat doesn't make a difference," he said in Sepang. "A lot of people have contracts." Ecclestone even cast doubts over the future of the Italian Grand Prix, whose strategy for the future will be laid out in a press conference later this week. The demise of the German Grand Prix marks the first time since 1960 that the event has not graced the F1 calendar. It also reduces the 2015 season to 19 races, creating a three week break bet ween the British Grand Prix on July 5 and the Hungarian race on July 26. F1 >>> nEWs Auf WiEdErsEhEn poWEr strugglE 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Teams could receive a fifth power unit as regulations governing the number available to drivers looks set to be relaxed from four to five. Regulations were tightened ahead of the 2015 season reducing the number of power units available, a move which has seen teams limit running during practice to save mileage and reduce the risk of losing an engine. In Australia both Red Bull and McLaren lost one of their allocation, for Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen (which will impact Fernando Alonso) while Jenson Button lost one of his Honda's in Malaysia. At a meeting between team bosses in Sepang, Red Bull's Christian Horner proposed the regulations revert to those employed during 2014, effectively giving teams another engine for the season ahead. It's understood the move was unanimously approved with work now looking at how the power unit could be incorporated; whether as a Friday practice engine or simply adding another to the allocation available to teams. Ahead of the season it was thought the new, tighter power unit regulations had been circumvented by the inclusion of the Korean Grand Prix on the original 2015 schedule. With Korea and Germany (see opposite) both on the calendar teams would have been entitled to a fifth engine because of the increased number of races for the year. That however proved not to be the case with engines capped at four for the year.