Hockenheimring to become business and concert venue?

Jamie Woodhouse

Hockenheimring can't wait forever for F1 2020 decision.

With Formula 1 no longer visiting the Hockenheimring, reports suggest that bosses could switch their focus to business events and concerts, rather than racing.

The 2019 German Grand Prix proved to be the last F1 event held at the Hockenheimring, at least for now, but it sure went out with a bang as Max Verstappen claimed victory in one of the most exciting races in recent memory.

Even the 2019 staging was only saved though by the financial backing of Mercedes-Benz, and once they confirmed that their support wouldn’t be there for 2020, it was no surprise when the German GP was dropped from the calendar.

And the chances of it returning continue to diminish – with a record 22 races now forming the F1 season and continued talk of races in Miami and Saudi Arabia to come, it’s hard to see where the German GP would slot back in.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then to see the German media reporting that the Hockenheim circuit’s management are looking at ways to diversify, including into business events and concerts.

Thomas Reister, head of the Emodrom Group who are responsible for the business development of the Hockenheimring, told RNZ: “The door for the future is not closed. It is only a question of financial terms.”

DTM has also taken a hit with their 2020 event at the circuit cut from two rounds to one, while they have also lost the privilege of being the season-opening round to Circuit Zolder.

But, the Jim Clark Revival and the NitrOlympX events will stay at the venue.

Jorn Teske, managing director of Hockenheimring GmbH added: “It is a well-known fact that motorsport is a stagnant field. But there will still be one or two racing cars in Hockenheim.

Baden-Wurttemberg Minister of Economic Affairs Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut recently visited the circuit to discuss financial support for the city of Hockenheim and the future of its circuit.

“The Hockenheimring is an important economic factor for the Rhine-Neckar region, but also for our country,” she said.

“However, we welcome the intention to break new ground and to build a future technology-open mobility center here.”

Member of parliament Karl Klein said: “Despite the long tradition of the ring, further development and adaptation to social developments is necessary.”

And the Mayor of Hockenheim Marcus Zeitler believes the plan should be to move away from motor racing.

“For the future, the Hockenheimring must be expanded into a modern business location,” he said.

“Here we can prove that visions and innovations fit together if we all pull together.”

The Emodrom Group want to generate more private sector involvement and tenancy at the circuit, but still keep the Hockenheimring open for large public events and concerts.

The circuit will also be used as a trade fair location – Emodrom will host the E4 festival this summer – a trade fair for self-driving e-mobility.

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