Hockenheim cannot afford ever-higher F1 race fees

Feb.12 (GMM) Just as Suzuka and Silverstone lock down new long-term Formula 1 race deals, the defunct German GP venue at Hockenheim insists it still cannot afford to return to the calendar.

Germany’s storied history in F1 is at a clear low-point, and Hockenheim managing director Jorn Teske admits grand prix hosts inking lucrative deals with Liberty Media are not making the situation better.

“I don’t have any concrete figures – it’s not like we talk every month,” he told Auto Motor und Sport when asked about the latest developments with F1’s commercial owners.

“But it’s well known that the new countries are able to raise different amounts than the traditional circuits in Europe. I don’t know to what extent the spiral will continue upwards.”

Teske admits that he sees no clear signs that Liberty might be prepared to lower its financial demands in order to welcome Germany back to the schedule.

“We have already been told that there is great interest in Germany as a location, and I don’t think it’s just lip service,” he said.

“But it’s not entirely clear to me to what extent they might be prepared to reduce the maximum achievable race fees. If nothing changes or Formula 1 is not prepared to make major compromises, it cannot work.”

He admitted the biggest problem is that it is currently “not politically opportune” within Germany for federal and state governments to pump money into gas-burning Formula 1.

“There was an initiative by Stefano Domenicali who wanted to make it a top priority and bring all parties to the table,” said Teske. “But nothing came of it.”

One ray of hope is the return of some grands prix to free-to-air German television in 2024, but Teske thinks he could already attract sell-out crowds to a German GP at Hockenheim.

“But I’m afraid that it won’t be possible if, like in other countries, we’d have to increase the entry prices significantly,” he said. “The Germans are incredibly price sensitive.”

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