It seems ironic to be talking about the future of F1’s great circuits when we’re gearing up for a record-breaking 21 races this year, but the reality is that some historic races still remain unsecured.
There are doubts over the futures of both the German and the Italian grands prix beyond 2016, and there is a real danger two of the most storied events in F1 could follow the French GP off the schedule.
With the Nurburgring failing to honour its half of the race-share deal with Hockenheim last season, the German GP was canned – and that was a race that had been a staple of the championship since 1961.
Hockenheim will host the event this season, but the race’s future beyond that is questionable, with falling crowd numbers and a seemingly collapsed rotation deal leading to additional financial strain for promoters. Bernie Ecclestone has already said a 2017 German GP won’t happen.
Monza has an even greater history, having staged the Italian GP every year bar one since the world championship began in 1950. But the venue’s current deal expires this year, and talks over an extension have stalled due to the requirement to provide finances to improve the park circuit’s facilities. Ecclestone also called Monza’s current deal “a commercial disaster”.
Automobile Club of Italy president Angelo Sticchi Damiani said earlier this year that a draft contract had been agreed, and had hoped for a final agreement by the end of February.
Ecclestone said last month: “There’s no deadline. They can take as long as they like, provided it’s by the end of this month [February].”
There has still been no word.
Car: FW38 Engine: Mercedes PU106C First GP: Argentina 1975 Races: 649 Wins: 114 Poles: 128 Fastest laps: 133 Points: 3332 Drivers’ titles: 7 Constructors’ titles: 9
NUMBER 19 FELIPE MASSA (BRA)
Debut: Australia 2002 Races: 229 Wins: 11 Poles: 16 Fastest laps: 15 Points: 1071 Drivers’ titles:
NUMBER 77 VALTTERI BOTTAS (FIN)
Debut: Australia 2013 Races: 56 Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Fastest laps: 1 Points: 326 Best result:
Car: MP4-31 Engine: Honda RA616H First GP: Monaco 1966 Races: 780 Wins: 182 Poles: 155 Fastest laps: 152 Points: 5040.5 Drivers’ title: 12 Constructors’ title: 8
NUMBER 14 FERNANDO ALONSO (ESP)
Debut: Australia 2001 Races: 252 Wins: 32 Poles: 22 Fastest laps: 21 Points: 1778 Drivers’ titles: 2
NUMBER 22 JENSON BUTTON (GBR)
Debut: Australia 2000 Races: 284 Wins: 15 Poles: 8 Fastest laps: 8 Points: 1214 Drivers’ titles: