LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has thrown doubt on this year’s German Grand Prix taking place at either Nuerburgring or Hockenheim.
The 84-year-old, who said last week that the July 19 race would be at Hockenheim if a contract could be finalised, told Sky Sports News on Wednesday that no deal had been signed with either circuit.
Asked whether there was a chance there might be no German Grand Prix, despite last year’s dominance of Mercedes and this year’s novelty of seeing four times world champion Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari colors, he quipped:
“We’ve got one. It’s called Austria.”
The Briton said he was meeting the Nuerburgring’s new owners on Wednesday, reviving their prospects after he appeared to write them off.
The race is due to be held at Nuerburgring under an alternation agreement with Hockenheim, who hosted it last year but drew disappointingly small crowds, in order to relieve the financial burden.
Ecclestone’s words could be interpreted as part of the bargaining process, however, and he made clear the sport wanted to keep Germany on the calendar.
“We would do everything to stop them fading away, but in the end the only reason the race won’t happen is because they can’t afford to run the race,” he said.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by. Toby Davis