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Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: German Grand Prix ‘to be dropped from calendar’

World Motorsport Council expected to ratify decision on Wednesday

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Kimi Raikkonen of Scrderia Ferrari team during the first practice session conference at the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina circuit on Friday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The German Grand Prix is set to be dropped from the Formula One calendar for financial reasons, according to reports on Friday.

It is believed this decision will be ratified when the World Motorsport Council meets next Wednesday.

Hockenheim is one of three provisional races on next year’s 21-race calendar, which will be confirmed at the same meeting, along with Canada and Brazil.

But according to reports in the German media, F1 teams have already been told of the move so that it does not hamper their travel plans. The race is due to be held on July 31.

Next year would have been the turn of the Nurburgring circuit to stage the race under an alternation agreement, but its owners have reportedly baulked at paying the hosting fees.

“It’s unfortunate but not surprising, especially as the date was only conditional,” Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler was quoted as saying by German news agency dpa. “There was also no offer excluding all financial risks, which was always our condition as a possible venue.”

There was no immediate confirmation from the sport’s commercial supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, although he sounded pessimistic about Germany’s prospects earlier this month.

“We tried to keep them [Hockenheim] alive, but they’ve run out of tablets,” the 86-year-old had told at the Brazilian Grand Prix. “I’ll put my money on it not happening.”

If the reports are true, the Hungarian GP would be moved by a week to replace Germany on the calendar.

The German GP was left off the 2015 calendar, also following diminishing attendances and crippling costs.

The news will come as a blow to Mercedes and their driver Nico Rosberg, who is on course to win his maiden world championship at this weekend’s season-ending Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Rosberg leads his teammate Lewis Hamilton by 12 points in the drivers’ championship.

Mercedes have strolled to the constructors’ championship for the past three years and Hamilton was back-to-back world champion in 2014 and 2015.

The other German drivers in F1 are four-time champion Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), and Pascal Wehrlein (Manor).



Probable 2017 calendar

March 26: Australia (Melbourne)

April 9: China (Shanghai)

April 16: Bahrain (Sakhir)

April 30: Russia (Sochi)

May 14: Spain (Barcelona)

May 28: Monaco (Monte Carlo)

June 11: Canada (Montreal)

June 18: Europe (Baku, Azerbaijan)

July 2: Austria (Red Bull Ring, Spielberg)

July 9: Britain (Silverstone)

July 30: Hungary (Hungaroring, Budapest)

Aug 27: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

Sept 3: Italy (Monza)

Sept 17: Malaysia (Sepang)

Oct 1: Singapore (Singapore)

Oct 8: Japan (Suzuka)

Oct 22: United States (Austin)

Nov 5: Mexico (Mexico City)

Nov 12: Brazil (Interlagos, Sao Paulo)

Nov 26: United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)

SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: November 24, 2017

Australia's David Warner dives unsuccessfully to take a catch hit by England's Jonny Bairstow during the second day of the first Ashes cricket test match.