The Mereceds Benz stand at the Nurburgring

The Mereceds Benz stand at the Nurburgring, photo by Marc John

July 30th the Nurburgring will find out if the EU will give them bail out funds to allow them to keep trading but that could be too late and the circuit’s holding company have begun insolvency proceedings. Currently the holding company Nurburgring GmbH are in dispute with Nurburgring Automotive GmbH who lease the circuit, over fees that the holding company believe are due to them; Nurburgring GmbH wanted to end the deal that lasts until 2040 as a result of non-payment but insolvency may take this out of their hands.

 

The state government of Rhineland Palatinate own 90% of Nurburgring GmbH but are helpless to intervene due to competition laws however insolvency for Nurburgring GmbH wouldn’t mean an end to the track. Administrators would look to sell it as an asset or find a buyer for the business as a going concern: certainly as a going concern the Nurburgring would be more appealing as the company going out of business would most likely lead to the contract to host the German Grand Prix in alternate years being cancelled.

 

The Hockenheimring which shares the German Grand Prix with the Nurburgring and hosts the race in 2012 has said it would be willing to host the race every year with owner Georg Seiler stating that “we’re ready to adapt to any demands” he does however seem to prefer for a solution to be found for the Nurburgring to continue hosting the race and it seems a solution is already on the table.

 

The deal currently being suggested is for Bernie Ecclestone to take over as promoter for the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring every other year and would presumably not be dependent on who owned the track. It would also become Bernie Ecclestone’s responsible;ity to pay the race fees and so he would look to cover them with strong ticket sales.

 

Few Formula One fans or motorsport fans in general will want to see the Nurburgring go the same way as the A1-Ring in Austria that suffered years of neglect when Formula One stopped visiting the track and owners failed to complete new construction work leaving it unusable until Dietrich Maateschitz took it over finished work and renamed it the Red-Bull ring. The Nurburgring though is a motorsports mecca with motorists from around Europe paying to drive the old Nordschleife  circuit every day so should have the potential to turn a profit and German Grand Prix ticket sales remain high with 56,000 already sold for the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim this weekend.