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GP Week : Issue 163
After months of bad news from the Nurburgring, this week a bad situation turned critical following reports that the holding company in charge of the circuit would be filing for bankruptcy after a last-ditch loan application to the European Union was turned down. The problems with the Nurburgring are many and varied, but largely stem from extensive investment in the peripherals in the new ‘Ring complex – NAG were behind improvements including a rollercoaster that was closed on safety grounds shortly after its maiden run, and a cashless payment system. While these perks may have attracted visitors to the new leisure and entertainment complex – dubbed NuroDisney by its detractors – the lack of investment in access to the facility has been a real problem. There are no train lines that serve the circuit, and the last of the local buses leaves the track at 4pm – even on race day. If you build it, they will come. Or so the adage goes. Unfortunately, no one will come if you make it impossible to get there and then leave again. It’s all very Hotel California. There’s no denying the emotional pull of the Nurburgring, for Germans and for global fans of motorsport. Asked about the difficulties at the legendary circuit during the Hockenheim race weekend, the drivers were keen to put their voices behind efforts to save the ‘Ring. “I think generally it would be a shame to lose the race,” Timo Glock said. “I hope it's not going to happen. For me, it was great, every time, to race at the Nurburgring and I hope we stay there for a bit longer. I have great memories there, so I hope they can sort out the problems.” Michael Schumacher agreed. “There is a lot of history relates to the Nurburgring track and race for all of us German drivers,” he said. “We just wish the situation well and hope that solutions will be found and we will be back there as soon as we can.” Bernie Ecclestone is aware of the importance of the Nurburgring as a historic venue, and there are unsubstantiated reports that he has agreed a deal that will see FOM take on the promoter’s role for next year’s race at the circuit. However, the F1 supremo has not been quoted as saying so publicly, limiting his comments to general support for the race. “We will do everything that is commercially feasible to keep [the German Grand Prix on the calendar] – hopefully in Hockenheim and the Nurburgring,” Ecclestone told Auto Bild. “If it's not possible, we will talk to Hockenheim to see if they can do it," said Ecclestone.” FOR WHOM THE BELL RINGS EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott email@example.com RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) email@example.com Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK F1 >>> NEWS 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: