Amid new F1 agreements with Suzuka and Silverstone, Hockenheim’s return to the Formula 1 calendar faces financial hurdles, highlighting Germany’s F1 challenges.
While Suzuka and Silverstone have recently secured long-term agreements for Formula 1 races, the former German GP circuit, Hockenheim, maintains it still cannot afford to return to the calendar.
Germany’s history in F1 is clearly at a low point, and Hockenheim’s Managing Director, Jorn Teske, acknowledges that Grand Prix organizers signing lucrative deals with Liberty Media doesn’t help matters.
“I don’t have specific figures. It’s not as if we talk to F1 every month.”
“But it’s well known that new countries can raise different amounts compared to traditional circuits in Europe. I don’t know to what extent this spiral will continue.”
Teske admits he sees no clear sign that Liberty might be willing to lower its financial demands to welcome Germany back to the calendar.
“We were already told there was a high interest in Germany as a country, and I don’t think it’s just lip service.”
“But I really don’t know to what extent they might be willing to reduce the race fees to the maximum of what’s achievable. If nothing changes or if Formula 1 isn’t ready to make major compromises, it can’t work.”
F1’s Political Hurdles in Germany Persist
He admitted that the biggest issue is that it’s currently “not politically opportune” in Germany for governments to invest money in Formula 1, a category that still relies too heavily on petrol engines.
“There was an initiative from Stefano Domenicali who wanted to make it an absolute priority and bring all parties to the table. But it led nowhere. F1 and petrol, it’s not well seen by our politicians.”
A glimmer of hope is the return of some Grand Prix races on RTL, German free TV, in 2024. Teske believes this could already attract enough audience for a sold-out German GP at Hockenheim.
“But I fear it may not be possible if, like in other countries, we had to significantly increase entry prices to break even. We can’t take that risk because Germans are incredibly price sensitive.”
Hockenheim F1 Financial Challenges. Hockenheim F1 Financial Challenges