Rhine Valley circuit is a potential venue for racing this year
There has been confirmation from Hockenheim that it is in the early stages of talks with Formula 1 over the possibility of hosting a grand prix this year.
Despite having secured title sponsorship from Mercedes to help keep the German Grand Prix on the calendar last year, Hockenheim was unable to reach a fresh agreement with F1 to host the race in 2020.
Consequently the German Grand Prix did not feature on the 22-race calendar initially planned for this year by F1, but subsequently the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the opening ten rounds being called off.
The target now for F1 is to potentially complete a run of European races behind closed doors over the summer, which in turn has prompted Hockenheim to throw its hat into the ring as a potential venue.
Speaking to Autosport, Hockenheim CEO, Jorn Teske, said: “I can confirm that we are in talks.”
“We were and are in contact with our colleagues from Formula 1 from time to time anyway. After so many years of partnership, it is quite normal to ask each other what the respective status is.
“We are in dialogue regarding these topics. And we have also talked about the uncertainties of the race calendar in Formula 1.”
Teske explained that while preliminary talks had taken place, they had not yet discussed any potential dates or contractual terms.
“We talked about whether such a thing is possible, how it would take place. We exchanged ideas casually,” he said.
“But not about dates, conditions, contract set-ups, which are absolutely necessary in order to be able to seriously examine something like this. It didn’t go that far.”
Having been hit with substantial hosting fees in the past, Hockenheim has previously insisted it would only host F1 if the race was financially viable for the circuit.
If the track were to host a race this year ‒ which would likely take place behind closed doors ‒ Teske said this cost-cautious approach would remain unchanged.
“We have always said that we can only host Formula 1 on the condition that it doesn’t bear an incalculable financial risk for us,” he said.
“That was our main guideline for the last few years. We always stuck to it, and we managed to find contractual set-ups that fulfilled just that.”
F1 is aiming to stage a number of races in Europe throughout July, August and September, starting with the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on July 5.
As long as there are national restrictions still in place regarding social distancing and bans on large public gatherings, the European races would be run behind closed doors.
According to Teske, as long as all the conditions set by the local authorities were met, Hockenheim would be happy to stage a race without fans.
“If we can ensure what is required by the authorities, and the economic aspects make sense for us, then we at the Hockenheimring would not close our minds to [a race behind closed doors].
“However, we still have to conduct these talks. It is not as concrete as some might think at the moment.”