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Sebastian Vettel cools Ferrari talk as Germany feels the pinch on F1
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Jul 2012   |  9:34 am GMT  |  112 comments

Sebastian Vettel has denied that he has any kind of understanding with Ferrari, despite persistent rumours that a mechanism is in place which could take him to the Scuderia in 2014.

At the same time the news coming from Vettel’s home country Germany around F1 is not positive, with only 54,000 tickets sold for this weekend’s German GP at Hockenheim – at least 20% down on expectations – and news that the Nurburgring has been denied any governmental bail out to settle its debts.

Vettel took the opportunity of an interview in Bild newspaper, the leading tabloid in Germany, to make it clear that he has no arrangement not even under the table, with Ferrari, “There is no sign on my part, I’ve not signed anything nor have I agreed anything with a handshake.”

Vettel goes on to heap praise on Ferrari as an “awesome” team, which “all 24 drivers on the grid would say yes to, given the chance, and that includes me.”

Vettel says he’s honoured that “a man like Stefano Domenicali or Luca di Montezemolo see me as a Ferrari driver.”

So although he kills off the rumour that he’s on his way there in 2014, he leaves the door well and truly open for the future. But if you look closely at what he says, he makes it very clear that any move away from Red Bull would be all about a wide range of circumstances, primarily ensuring that he would be moving into a competitive package.

Vettel in a Ferrari. It was the same with Alonso back in the early 2003/4, when he broke through with Renault and started looking like the real deal. He was constantly linked to Ferrari and had even agreed a testing contract before his F1 debut, but switched to Renault which was offering a race debut after a year of testing (replacing Button) and where he would not have to drive alongside Michael Schumacher.

After Alonso pulled out of that agreement with Ferrari, Jean Todt its then boss was very angry and that is why, when it came time to replace Schumacher, he passed over Alonso and went for Raikkonen.

Eventually the Scuderia came for Alonso and he is now their captain. But Vettel is clearly the next target.

With his interview in Bild he has set himself up for a possible future at the team, but also made it clear to those who care to look, that a competitive car is the priority. He is fighting against one of the most competitive fields in F1 history and he’s not going to let his heart rule his head.

Vettel will be seeking his first win on home soil this weekend. But it’s a tough moment for F1 in Germany, with ticket sales sluggish, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and news that the Nurburgring could soon slide into insolvency as the circuit has been denied a lifeline from the European Union to help with its debt problems, after its dramatic expansion and development programme of recent times. Nurburgring alternates with Hockenheim as host of the German Grand Prix and is an iconic circuit, one of the most important symbols of German motorsport history.

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112 Comments
  1. ian says:

    Surely the old Nurburgring is iconic, the modern one is nothing special.

    1. Sebee says:

      Did you guys see the debt? Nurburgring is in debt for over 400M Euro!

      I guess if you’re going to go insolvent, may as well go out in style with a big bang. Anyone venture to guess who’s pocket most of this 400M is in?

    2. Tyler says:

      Amen, nothing special at all. Maybe if they had left it alone fans would be more drawn to the race, they turned what was unique and as you say iconic… into bland and ordinary.

    3. Valois says:

      Agreed! I just don’t find Nurburgring fun or neat. Even in F1 2011 it is boring! :-)

    4. Baktru says:

      Modern Nurb is still a better track than modern Hockenheim though.

  2. Jenks says:

    “all 24 drivers on the grid would say yes to, given the chance, and that includes me.”

    …err, not Webber apparently.

    1. MISTER says:

      Having just extended his contract at RBR, Mark has every chance next year to renew it again. This doesn’t mean that Mark will not accept a drive at Ferrari in the future if at that stage he will not be offered a seat at RBR anymore.

      Having accepted the Ferrari seat, which most likely would’ve been for only 1 year, Mark would’ve been left without the option to renew or sign with a top team. Why would he do that?

      In cases like these, is very important to look at things in perspective. Is not as simple as “Mark refused to go to Ferrari” as some articles in the media were reading. That’s just these cheap tabloids which are looking to sell their newspapers with chatchy frontpage titles.

      I believe Mark made the right decission to stay with a team which is leading in building and developing a car these days.
      Maybe the chance to race in red will come again. Lets be honest, Mark is not that old and he is still one of the fastest drivers on the grip and more importantly he is very consistent.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        You can say YES to one team at a time only, and clearly Webber did not say it to Ferrari if a offer was on the table.

    2. PeteM says:

      +1….spot on…why would he even hint that some form of talks had taken place when webber is breathing down his neck and he could put his number one driver status in jeopardy.

      1. NickPerth says:

        Webber breathing down Sebs neck? Pretty sure the standings currently show it the other way around!

      2. PeteM says:

        You are correct Nick in that Webber is in front however will the powers that be in RBR allow this to continue. By breathing down Vettels neck I was actually referring to this season he is on par and Vettel hasn’t got it his own way. Yet! I should of worded it different.

  3. Jamie Cottage says:

    Are ridiculously high race-hosting fees the main problem here James? It seems unless you’re lucky enough to sell out the grandstands (SIlverstone) it’s impossible to turn a profit…

    (and even then it’s minimal)

  4. bmg says:

    SO WHAT DO YOU THINK JAMES?

  5. Alan Warwick says:

    Silverstone – sold out! Hockenheim struggling to sell tickets! Wot’s happening? I thought Germany was the strong European country!
    Just goes to show how keen all of us Brits are – we got to Silverstone by hook or by crook the weekend before last to get our F1 fix. Never started out so early ( 5am ) but it was worth it, I just love the Silverstone weekend with my grown up son- and so does he!

    1. MISTER says:

      I was there too. Arrived on Thursday afternoon in the muddy Woodlands camping fields. There were already thousands and thousands of tents and caravans there.
      Loved every minute of it and so did the rain given that it was present for most of the weekend.
      Great show, great atmosfere, great fans!

    2. Davexxx says:

      Thanks guys for these snippets! I used to live in Northampton but never went to a Silverstone race, partly because I thought it would be better on TV than alongside a load of noisy Brits, plus the logistics of getting in and out.
      It was nice, and heart-warming, to hear so many people complied with the request to stay away Saturday to give the soggy fields a chance. I guess despite the current economic climate (I’m now in California, but life ain’t quite so rosy here nowadays either!) the good old Brit Spirit is still there in UK! Great!

  6. Cuba says:

    I don’t understand why German tracks are struggling.
    Germans are relatively rich, and Germany has weathered the financial downturn better than any other country. They have six drivers in the Championship, including the young champion and a legend. They have an iconic constructor in Mercedes.
    I mean, what else could possibly be done to attract fans there?

    1. Cuba says:

      Correction: five current drivers.

    2. someone says:

      Any track in Formula 1 loses millions of Euros per week end, as they have to pay for the Formula 1 show but they won’t get any money from the sponsor banners on the track, nor will they get any money from the TV coverage. All they get is the money for tickets and money from licenses for people selling beverages and stuff on the site. So it’s companies like Mercedes who are buying loads of tickets to support the tracks. Each year the state has to pay millions of Euros for the races. Germany, as rich as it may be, has raising debts, it has weak regions with a high unemployment rates (the former east being especially weak) and there is another dark shadow hovering over Germany’s head, which is paying for weak countries like Greece and Spain to “save the Euro”. And in this climate of distrust from inside the country, people and politics are increasingly unwilling to pay millions for Formula 1, a blatantly rich enterprise that is demanding money from the tracks (in other words the states) instead of paying to drive somewhere. Just to give you an idea of the costs: The project “Nürburgring 2009″ cost the state 330 million Euros.

      While Formula 1 is drying out the tracks it does hardly anything to support them either: Safety demands move viewers away from the action, costing money for track modifications, there is no Pitwalk either and no way to get close to the drivers. So as a GP visitor, you pay some serious cash and all you will get is watching cars in the distance.
      While Germany is suffering from an increasing “hire and fire”-mentality and reductions in average wages to undercut prices of countries like china, to keep unemployment under control, as an average father you’ll think twice before paying half a months income to watch a Formula-1 race with your family.

      As the EU just denied further support of 16 million Euros for the Nürburgring, today, the 18th of July, the Nürburgring GmbH has officially filed bankruptcy.

      One problem with Formula 1 is, that track owners are not united, so Ecclestone can use them like chocolates bars: Consume one, leave the leftovers to rot and look for the next one that shouts “eat me !”.

      1. Jonathan De Andrade says:

        Thanks for that!

      2. puffing says:

        Germany and german banks are actually getting a lot of money with the public debt crisis of Spain, Italy, etc. Near zero interests when financing german public debt. Daily short betting in the markets against peripheral countries assets. Conversion of private risk (of german banks) into more secure public one (of peripheral states backed by the Euro Zone), etc. To each its own. Better do not speak in this place of this mess.

      3. Elie says:

        Thanks for a well sorted post. There was talk of a forming a tracks association for f1 or something alike.Maybe that might bring a little solidarity. I just find it crazy that Bernie can tell tracks like Melb you should go under lights and pay more fees or we will leave it.. When he gets a couple of hundred thousand people coming to see it.Obviously he can,cause someone else is vying for it. But if they got together & said no Bernie You Will pay for it.. Then maybe he will think twice..

        From a race weekend perspective I too do not like the fact that even in Melb you have to pay a few hundred extra just to be anywhere near the grandstands. Indy cars and other categories are much more accommodating and this is the only reason I be only flown down to see 1 !

        F1 can’t hide from the fact there is still a crisis in Europe and people will not go out if it’d not offering good value . This is why It’s full credit to the English fans for braving the conditions and supporting the event but on the flip side you can’t blame people for not parting with a few hundred € to get anywhere near the action.

    3. Egal says:

      Maybe because it is in the arse end of nowhere up in the Eifel, it is not near a motorway, not many hotels in the region, the weather is always unpredictable, und und und

    4. Gareth says:

      The germans are not relatively rich. The reason their economy is doing okay is because they have not been greedy and demanded pay rises over the years like is brits. And they are probably being fruggle in bad times.

      1. Bru72 says:

        Germany is Europes, if not the worlds largest exporter. As a country, they are very rich.

      2. Gareth says:

        Yes but the reason the country is doing so well is because their wages have stayed low. Which is the reason they are competitive enough to be able to export in such large quantities. This does not mean the people of Germany have loads of money to spend.

      3. OPJ says:

        Dream On…

  7. Hahnsolo says:

    Why F1 has not realised that fans simply can not afford to spend a small fortune just on the tickets is beyond me.

    Instead of having 52.000 people there you could have 80.000 or more by just reducing the ticket costs by 35-45%. People then still spend their money on merchandise etc.

    The organisers are already in a vicious circle: Fewer ticket sales, fewer new and young fans, less money generated/debt, increase in ticket prices to shoulder debt, fewer ticket sales…

    1. Phil says:

      But the track don’t get the merchandise sales… Also the merchandise costs a fortune! From an overall point of view though I 100% agree with your post.

    2. Syed says:

      Very well said, fully agree

    3. tom in adelaide says:

      I completely agree.

      This will sound like a strange analogy – but look at Angry Birds. It costs just 99 cents but has made the developer/publisher Billions of dollars. If it had cost $10 they wouldn’t have made anywhere near that kind of money.

      F1 ticket prices should be lowered until the venues start selling out. Only then should anybody be thinking about raising prices. It’s simple economics.

    4. Before you reduce prices by 35%+, maybe look at:
      1. sell tickets in English to your customers (not everyone speaks German);
      2. use your Facebook page to promote your track and activities in English (ditto)
      3. Simplify the price list (Hockenheim is by far the most complex).

      From the research we conducted for our guide, the Hockenheimring looks like a great place for F1. They are just not telling anyone about it outside of Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Poland.

    5. I should also have mentioned promoting themselves in French. Hockenheim is so close to the border it is crime not to do so.

  8. Matt W says:

    I have never felt Vettel going to Ferrari was anymore likely than Hamilton or Webber. Whilst Alonso is at the team he will be the number 1 driver and none of the main drivers mentioned will sign for anything less than equal treatment.

    Most likely is Perez who might sign into a support role on the proviso that he will be groomed as Alonso’s eventual successor.

    1. bmg says:

      I think the young German is playing politics.

      To me, RB stopped giving him number 1 status within the team when the news broke that he signed some kind of contract for 2014.

      Look at the form guide of Webber and Vettel since.

      Dr Marco seems a lot quieter these day’s.

  9. Charlie says:

    Bit harsh (possibly) but good riddance to Hockenheim, it used to be one of my favourites on the calendar, but since it was Tilke-ised I have no interest in it and have barely watched a race weekend through at the circuit, when I normally can’t be dragged from the TV on an F1 race weekend.
    Although all they have done away with is a heap of straight road intersected with chicanes I always felt the old circuit was a unique challenge with it’s sheer speed, and thus a unique test of the sheer power and speed of an F1 car, now it is just a generic track, the same as the other twenty something other races of the year. Each circuit really must focus on having a ‘unique selling point’ else we could have a calendar of 30 odd races all of which are pretty much identical.Protect the classics!

    1. someone says:

      I totally second that.

    2. Erik says:

      Yup, spot on. F1 tracks need character. The old hokenheim would have been perfect too in today’s F1 with drs and kers to help overtaking now. Can you imagine, all of those long straights would have made it look like a Moto gp race with all the overtaking going on. This characteristic combined with the high speeds through the forrest would have made it unique on the calendar, and therefore special.

    3. Doug says:

      I agree, I loved the old circuit when they screamed off into the forest, then barrelled back into the stadium corners.

      Don’t go to Google Earth and look… the old section is all ripped up.

    4. Gate 21 says:

      You’ll have to get your old tapes of races long gone to remember the forest loop.

      When they created the Tilke track, I thought they’d at least keep the forest loop as an option.

      But no, the forest loop had to be dug up. So long History: it was nice knowing you.

    5. legend345 says:

      Absolutely agree. Hockenheim was always one of my favourites. Who could forget Rubinho’s debut win in 2000? Or Mika Hakkinen smashing at high speed at the end of a straight in 1999? It was such a unique circuit with long straights and then the stadium section. It was a unique challenge. Absolutely agree, another classic circuit butchered. That 2002 ‘update’ turned a brilliant unique circuit to more of a clone of the 20 other circuits out there. And that’s why we love Monaco – it’s a unique challenge.

    6. James Clayton says:

      Hockenheim isn’t under threat??

    7. Baktru says:

      I totally agree. Modern Hock has only 2 interesting corners left. Corner 1, which is a lot of fun, and the entrance into the stadiu which is a lot trickier than it looks. All the rest if fairly meh. As I said before, modern Nurb is a much more challenging and interesting track.

  10. FInchOwl says:

    James, it appears that the Germans have not taken to Vettel as they did to Schumacher in the mid/late 90′s(this is also affecting the numbers of Germans heading to Spa each year too), why do you think this is?

    And also Schumachers un-retirment doesnt seem to have had an effect on the ticket sales – I guess more understandable as he isnt winning

  11. B Grylls says:

    I have to say that it would sound very strange if Vettel had a written form of understanding with Ferrari for 2014. What would be his motivation to work with RB until then?

    1. Peter says:

      um… how about becoming world champion for 2012 and 2013. How’s that for motivation. Imagine his asking salary if he moved to Ferrari as a 4 time world champion?

    2. James Clayton says:

      A couple of world championships??

  12. I Am Pedal says:

    Maybe there were talks going on after the relatively weak start of the season by RB. However. You would have to be really stupid to leave Red Bull in their present (and rising) form – even though they are far from their world dominating pace of the last years.

    1. Rich C says:

      Agreed! With the majikal mental powers of Mr Newey focussed on ‘the problem’ you’d be crazy to leave.

      1. Elie says:

        Yeah relatively week start to 2012 and both RBR and Vettel double world champions what a weak position.. Lol NOT..
        Mark Webber is no dummy and he made a good call.. Why would Vettel move now also.

    2. Besides having Newey on board, RBR is the de facto Renault works team amd both drivers would be crazy to leave the team before they can see how the new V6 engine performs in 2014.

  13. HFEVO2 says:

    The story of how the Nurburgring got into such a huge mess is one of epic mismanagement but if it’s lost for ever, the EU will have a lot to answer for !

    As for Sebastian Vettel, surely he would only risk going to Ferrari if Adrian Newey went with him ?

    What’s up with the German fans ?

    Several German drivers in competitive cars, a works Mercedes team, engines in the back of the McLarens and Force Indias and the most exciting races for years.

    What more can they want ?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Maybe all the media and governments and world bank reports about Germany’s healthy economy, as opposed to other European countries, is merely fabricated?
      It seems unbelievable that there are so few tickets sold for the Grand Prix with all the German drivers and car/ engines combinations in the field.

      The Italian MotoGP last weekend had a crowd of 62,000.
      In previous years, they had crowds of 120,000 plus. Maybe it’s the economy in Italy impacting on the crowd, but I suspect that in Italy, it has more to do with a certain Rossi being handicapped by his bike.

      1. someone says:

        The inside view in Germany is less thrilling. And the truth may be something in between.

        The German media reports about the struggling Greek and Spanish economy, that Portugal is about to follow and sometimes also notes that Ireland is not safe yet. At the same time Merkel (also referred to as “the pantsuit” or “mommy” – in a pejorative way) is telling us that saving the Euro is “without alternative” and the only way to do that is grant billions of Euros for the “Euro emergency chute” (Euro bailout fund), which translates to: “Very expensive”. Germany may be a strong leader in the European economy, but it’s got a lot to carry and common belief in Germany is that it’s loading up more burdens than it can handle, if things gets shaky, as at the same time each year our debt raises and the politics say we’d need an “equated national budget” (=save money) and “the crisis ain’t over yet”, etc.
        Common perception is that it’s the rich gamblers, the “banksters”, who get saved and the public will have to pay for that.
        Apart from that, people think that unemployment rates got less mainly because regular labor has been replaced by labor leasing – which makes people earn less per hour and work less hours per month. Often it is believed to be company strategy to raise the shareholder value (-> gamblers). Also there have been reports all over the media about raising prices for energy because of our switch to renewables. Even though most of that is FUD by the companies to justify their prices, people tend to believe it.

        So even though there may be enough money in Germany it’s important to see its distribution and try to understand the peoples feelings to get a picture. People here feel a kind of anxiety, even though most of them are doing pretty well, loads of them feel different.
        That’s also fabricated by the media in some way.

        And there is something quite simple to note, which has less to do with economy and politics:
        The Hockenheim race happens during the holiday season, when people are on vacation or already spent money on theirs.
        Bottom line is: I guess the preconditions for people spending 115 to 450 Euros per person, plus hotel (60 to 80 Euros per Person), plus travel costs to watch a Formula One race are not the best ones. I mean come on: Just imagine what it would cost for a family of 3 or 4.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Thank you, fascinating reading

      3. Jonny says:

        Maybe the Germans are a little more careful when it comes to spending their money. I believe the U.K. has the highest level of personel debt in Europe. Please don’t forget the Germans went through the reforms that the U.K. attemting at this present time, twenty years ago.

    2. Rich C says:

      Dunno why the EU will have anything to ‘answer for’.
      Not the uber-government’s job to bail ppl out all the time.

      1. HFEVO2 says:

        The European Commission has blocked any help from the Lande or german national government to rescue the Nurburgring.

        If it can’t be saved some other way, Brussels will be responsible.

      2. James Clayton says:

        Presumably they blocked it because they don’t see any realistic chance of it getting its financed back in order. They aren’t a charity.

      3. HFEVO2 says:

        You misunderstand, James, the financial help to secure the future of the Nurburgring was going to come from public bodies within Germany. My point is that, the future of the circuit is at risk because, while the matter has nothing to do with the EU and it involved no EU money, the bureaucrats in Brussels are blocking it.

        It should be up to a member country to decide whether they want to support a struggling organisation within it’s own boundaries.

        Obviously this can’t apply in the case of, say, a car manufacturer, where state support would give it a competitive advantage.

        This it’s hardly the situation in this case.

        It’s yet another example of how unelected guys like Barosso and Van Rompuy and their whole army of bureaucrats in Brussels are continually trying to dictate and take control over everything within the EU.

  14. Rob Newman says:

    Ferrari has a fundamentally flawed approach when it comes to treating their drivers. They dumped Schumi and Kimi like yesterday’s news papers. Irvine and Rubens didn’t have it easy either. Massa is surviving only because he is playing the bridesmaid role.

    If they want to attract and retain someone like Vettel’s calibre, they need to totally change their working culture at Ferrari. They should get rid of their number one number two labels.

    Vettel should not join Ferrari at this stage of this carrier. May be in another 10 years but definitely not now.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Does it?
      I think the flaw in Ferrari’s approach in recent years is keeping on a driver for 3 seasons, and until very recently, his performance was getting worse.
      They built him a new chassis for Malaysia and have supported him beyond what most observers thought necessary.

      Schumi was offered a contract for 2007 to be partnered by Kimi, yet decided to retire.
      He proved over his career that he wanted a subserviant number 2 supporting him totally.
      Many Ferrari fans don’t love Schumacher, they respect him, because with his team of Todt, Brawn and drivers of Irvine and Barrichello submitting to him, he brought a lot of success to the team.
      But for any of the tifosi who remember the 1970′, 80′s and early 90′s, we all know that Ferrari always allowed drivers to race. He always believed that Ferrari won races, whereas drivers lost them. The only other team that has been anywhere near the same is Williams. They have lost championships because they wouldn’t change their approach.
      If you naively believe that Mclaren have no 1 and 2 drivers, ask DC, or JPM, or Alonso and Kovalainen.

      You may care to learn, (although I doubt it) but Alonso doesn’t have a number 1 contract like Schumacher insisted on, he just doesn’t want to be number 2.
      In any team, the team will always gravitate to the faster, more committed driver.
      Senna at Toleman or Lotus, then Mclaren and Williams, he never asked for number 1, just to have equal opportunity as the other guy.

      P.S. Kimi was dropped because he was being out-driven by Massa.
      Let’s be honest, Massa may be quick, but would you ever describe him in the glowing terms people use for Raikkonen? Of course not.

      1. jeroen says:

        just to add to this excellent post imo, that, I do think there is every chance that Vettel (who we know likes his statistics and admires some of the great past drivers) will soon think lets try and win a tittle with another team. He would probably chose between /Mercedes and Ferrari and decide who has at the time the best chance to win. I also sense that neither Vettel nor Alonso would actually mind racing each other in the same car. I think both will be well up for that, I certainly hope so!

    2. Rich C says:

      err… no.
      Schumi retired and went swanning around as some sort of Ferrari ambassador as well as a mentor to Massa.
      Kimi was bored and underperforming and wanted to go rallying, so he did.
      The wounded Massa is still better than most others they could entice.
      And the #1 and #2 labels is a media/fan invention.

      1. Is the quote “Fernando is faster than you…” a media invention or an instruction to Massa to move over whilst leading the race? (Sigh.)

      2. f1_fan says:

        thats was coz alonso was faster and stuck behind massa in australia, china and germany that year. esp they lost victory in aus.

        after aus and china, there was understanding in the team that who ever is faster will be given way if leader is slowing down other driver for some laps, if you remember in the race rob smedley was urging massa to increase gap for whole of the race, finally since massa couldn’t go faster he had to make way, just that alonso was never in position to make way for massa, so he would/not make way is question we’ll never know answer for.

    3. veeru says:

      really?? the same approach that got them more world championships than any other team?

      you mean to suggest to treat drivers equally? dare you point one team on the grid that does that?

      Redbull–the team that thinks fans are fools
      McLaren–they would have walked 2007 if they used Ferrari’s approach.

  15. IJW says:

    Odd that a country which seems to be in “better shape” economically than the UK, seems to have problems filling up its own GP whilst ours was positively overflowing (pun NOT intended with regards to the rain and water logged fields) :)

  16. Lisa Thomas says:

    James do you think F1 is in a quandary with needing actual attendance at races when we live in an age where all virtual reality exists on a very portable device?

  17. Joao Correia says:

    “with only 54,000 tickets sold for this weekend’s German GP at Hockenheim – at least 20% down on expectations”

    If they lower the prices, maybe more people will go there.

    1. Rich C says:

      Happen to know what the prices are, offhand? Or how they reflect the local economy?

      Doubtless there’s a breakeven pricepoint there somewhere. Just because all tickets aren’t sold is not always bad. It would mean another 10-15,000 fans stressing the facility and the surround.

      1. Joao Correia says:

        I live 57km (35mi) from Hockenheim.
        Prices start at 180£ and go to 2900£ (formula1.com ticket shop). I am a huge F1 fan, don’t take me wrong, but I wouldn’t pay 230€ to go there, and sit in the grass to see (badly) one corner of the race.

        BBC/SkyF1 will do a better job! ;)

      2. Dino says:

        I’ve been in many GP’s during my life, mostly working, and believe that what hinders ticket sales in most countries now, is how removed from the action is the majority of the public nowadays.

        The race itself is always shown better in TV, so what you really would pay is for the ambience, to see drivers, cars and teams in person. Most F1 tickets doesn’t give you the chance to be close to the drivers and cars. F1 live only makes sense with a pit and paddock pass, and then this is a huge sum for any fan.

      3. Well maybe check another website? Formula1.com prices are usually over inflated.

        Grandstand prices start at €150 / £120 / $200 and general admission at €100 / £80 / $150.

        Being 50km away, I’d make my way there.

        James, may I plug in our guide for Joao? http://grandprixadvisor.com/index.php/circuit-guides/european-circuits/germany-hockenheim

      4. Joao Correia says:

        Thanks for the link, but it seems that all tickets are sold out (beendet)…

  18. val from montreal says:

    Jacques Villeneuve
    David Coulthard
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    Kimi Raikkonen
    and
    Fernando Alonso

    all of these drivers refused to be Schumacher’s teamate …. Jean Todt approached them all and they all said NO …

    1. Antti says:

      I believe Kimi signed the Ferrari contract assuming Michael would drive for them as well. It was only later that Michael decided to retire.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      No they weren’t.
      Villeneuve and JPM were never approached, Schumacher made sure of that.
      Alonso as the report says was offered a test place but he chose Renault because a drive would be available.
      DC was mentioned in the British press before he signed for RBR, but it was never any more than newspaper speculation.
      Kimi was signed in late 2005, and Schumacher had all of 2006 to decide, then came out with a lame excuse of thinking about Massa.
      Any decent driver that said no to Todt was because they knew that they would be asked to support Schumacher, not to compete against him.

      1. Daniel MA says:

        Actually JPM was indeed aproached, I just watched last week a tv show about his career and he said he didn’t go because of the number 1 and 2 roles at Ferrari, makes you wonder how many drivers still see Ferrari like that.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher’s legacy extends further than we realise!!

      3. Elie says:

        Agree Val/ Daniel there is still that mentality in Ferrari-a legacy of the Schumacher era. NOBODY feared Schumacher -as a racer they all wanted a chance to blow him away in equal equipment ( despite his dirty driving) and YES they were all approached at some time or other I remember it well! They all knew with Brawn Schumacher calling the shots they were all going to be treated like mugs – this is what they rightly avoided them and why I dislike Ferrari – they still don’t have the leadership that drive the direction!- they seek a top driver to guide them. Until they sort this out they are not as attractive as the other three or four teams. Not all drivers want to lead the management team, kiss arse with press, and say “we at Ferrari” that’s why Kimi got bored and fed up. Most drivers just want to race..which was how Ferrari were pre Schumi.

      4. Justin Bieber says:

        Villeneuve was approached when he was in Indycar the US. He had the choice of joining Williams or Ferrari.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        If that’s true, it would have been 1995?
        Which would have been before Schumacher ever joined, therefore val is mistaken because he would have said no because Ferrari were appalling in 1995, whereas Williams were dominant, not because of no 1 & 2′s

      6. Val from montreal says:

        Your wrong as usual … Do you want me to fax to you newspaper clippings and f1 articles that I still have in my possesion ? All of those drivers WERE indeed approached to drive slong side The Regenmeister … Villeneuve was approached by todt way before the year 2000 , Coulthard, Montoya and Kimi were all approached in the early 2000′s and Alonso was approached around 2002 …. The only driver Schumacher never wanted as a teamate was Halkinen ”the flying finn” …. It was Montezemelo who wanted Mika in the team in 2001 but Todt and Schumacher vetoed that , which pissed off Montezemelo big time !! Remember , 2006 was war inside the Ferrari headquarters …. Montezemelo felt as an outsider within his own company … Schumacher called too many shots and had too much power , LDM made sure to retire Schumacher against his will by distributing a press release in monza of 06 saying Schumacher was retiring … That said press release was handed out BEFORE the race was even over …. Just to make sure that the german had no choice but to retire ….Schumacher was afraid of nobody on the track – not even Senna !! Please , when it comes to Schumacher your facts are pretty much distorted in your favor ….

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        I’m not even going to counter all your points, I too have countless magazines and articles dating back to the 70′s.
        One thing I will say, Schumacher had written into his Benetton contract was a clause that if they ever signed senna to the team, he could leave without penalty.
        Kind of puts his fear of others into question.
        Regardless how many top drivers Ferrari approached, it says more about the Todt/ Schumacher regime, that they could only sign lackies, because anybody with any “balls” or arrogance wasn’t about to play number 2 contractually!

      8. hero_was_senna says:

        P.S: why would Schumacher have remained an advisor/ test driver for Ferrari if he had been forced out as you state. Surely he was too proud for that?
        In 2009 it was a neck injury from a motorbike accident that prevented him stepping in for an injured Massa…

      9. Paul says:

        DC confirmed to Jake H on the BBC show (red button forum IIRC) last race, or the one before, that he had an offer on the table from Ferrari.

      10. Robert says:

        It is clear from a number of posts from you that you do not like Schumacher, but it also seem that your comments are not always accurate. Todt was not responsible for Kimi’s signing at Ferrari, but Montezemolo. Schumacher could have stayed at Ferrari if he accepted to be the number 2 driver. Montezemolo politics to take control again of the F1 team and eventually resulting of the breakup of the “dream team”. I cannot see him in a number 2 seat, therefore there was not much of a choice at the time.

      11. someone says:

        Schumacher said, during his break, that he just did not feel the effort he had to put into his Career was worth the pleasure of driving anymore. It was all too much press and sponsor appointments and tests – you’d always be on the road and have not time for your own and your family left, which spoiled it all. So he decided to quit and of course Ferrari knew that before he made his public announcement.
        Since he has come back to Formula 1 he has said multiple times that he would not have come back if the excessive testing had not been banned and if he had not had the chance to spend more time with his family.
        He doesn’t make the impression to care a lot about his reputation though. He could have called it a day after he was second to Rosberg (who is not even a champion) in the first two comeback seasons, when the press destroyed him and the team did not deliver (they had just bought the world championship winning team). Nobody would have stopped him, had he thrown the towel. He didn’t.
        I doubt that any of the conspiracy theories about LDM and “number two status” next to Alonso is true.
        That guy likes racing, but not anymore at the expense of working 24/7, that’s all.

      12. James Clayton says:

        DC once confirmed it on the BBC pre-race coverage (some time last year). I can’t remember who but somebody (Jake or Eddy) asked him why he didn’t take up the offer and he said something along the lines of he didn’t want to be a number two because at the time he was ‘arrogant enough to think I could actually beat him’

  19. Sebee says:

    Am I the only dude to miss the old Hockenheimring?

    I think I may be too nostalgic.

    1. Sebee says:

      And may I say WOW! Ze Germans are quite fiscally responsible.

      No one is getting a bailout. Not Italy, Not Spain, not Greece, not Nurburgring.

      No money for you! Next!

    2. FInchOwl says:

      I miss it. It provided something unique and different. Unfortunately it will never be back :-(

    3. Kay says:

      I looooveeeed the old Hockenheim! That was one of very few circuits to allow cars blast down the straights for so loonnnngg!!!!

      Too bad now they decided it can never return to the old track configuration by ripping up tarmacs and have it reclaimed by nature =(

  20. gudien says:

    We need fewer ‘driver managers’ and more intelligent men such as Sebastian Vettel.

  21. Holly says:

    Alonso going to Renault and not Ferrari was a smart move, Todt will have destroyed his career.

    1. val from montreal says:

      really , how so ? Most likely Schumacher would have ” destroyed ” his EGO …..

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Alonso didn’t go there because there would have been no way that Schumi would have allowed him to thrash him.
        As for ego? In comparison to Hamilton, Vettel when he’s sour or several others, he comes across as very humble. Always honest

      2. Kay says:

        I agree with hero here.
        If Alonso went to Ferrari back then, he’d have ended up as another Barrichello putting talent to waste.

        He’s in a Ferrari now and good timing too!

    2. Gate 21 says:

      I think Flavio Briatore might have more to do with advising/influencing Alonso not going to Ferrari than Alonso himself deciding.

      Remember Mark Webber was told by his manager (also Flavio) that he should drive for Renault alongside Alonso, but chose a spot at Williams instead.

      1. Kay says:

        Don’t forget Alonso decided his future a year in advance before joining McLaren, WITHOUT Flav’s prior knowledge of it until the deal was done!

  22. Rich C says:

    You get more fans at each and every football game on the weekend than that!

    Anyone know what the average is for F1?

    1. As a rough estimate, I’d say about 85,000 on Sundays.

  23. AJ says:

    “As the crumbling finances of many of the current circuits are exposed, we need to keep talking up the new ones for the sake of the F1 float” – BE

    China – got a reduced fee deal last year.
    Korea – local Govt is losing $50m a year and nobody bothers to go.
    Barcelona/Valencia – can’t afford a race every year.
    Spa – Gets a reduction to keep them in play for 3 more years.
    Singapore – not happy with deal, want a reduction in fee.
    Australia – mooted unhappines with tax payers over cost.
    French GP – defo happening according to BE but cancelled by new govt.
    Hungary – Promoter and friend of BE dies this year, what next?
    Silverstone – desperate for investors to keep helping pay for the incremental 107% annual escalating fee.
    Nurbergring – about to go bust.
    Hockenheim – can’t afford a race every year, fees too high.
    Monaco – get a free race cos they’re hard up

    Put that together with Sponsors in the UK (soon to be other countries – in talks with subscription TV for F1) only getting around 50% of the eyeballs since free to air TV lost half the races.

    Major sponsor Kingfisher on its knee’s with just 12 aeroplanes left operating. The rest being repossessed.

    Sounds like a well run business model and a great investment. Let’s buy some shares.

  24. Yahya says:

    Majority of F1 fans seem to be looking forward to Vettel joining Ferrari. Personally i’m a bit disappointed and can’t help but feel they are being a bit greedy in that they want the best drivers available which is fine, but what’s the point when you have a man who is widely regarded as the best driver available who still has many years still ahead of him.

    My point is, why spend time chasing Vettel when they already have a better driver? Additionally i can’t see how this is a good career move for Seb. If he wants to win more titles he should stay @RBR. Theres gonna be a big rule change in 2014 and Newey has proven to excel in car design shake-ups. Obviously there’s no guarantee they will still be on top but it seems a safer option to me.

    Now, with regards to the second seat, unfortunately Massa is on the way out sooner or later, so instead of going for yet another high profile driver, i would love to see Ferrari buck that trend and take a chance with a young driver with potential and nurture this driver to be a future WDC. They rarely seem to do this. The question of “too much pressure” doesn’t hold water for me if they keep expectations low. I’m not saying they should throw anyone in there but someone with immense potential.

  25. darth_patate says:

    I don’t think I have read it very often but what about Kova as replacement for Massa ?:
    -experienced
    -cheap
    -good results on a (really)bad car
    -Fernando knows him and i don’t believe there is any bad blood between them(did they race together at renault or was kova test driver iam notsure?)
    -i believe he would be better off number 2 at ferrari than number 1 at caterham

  26. 69bhp says:

    James, in one of your earlier posts regarding Webber’s re-signing by RBR you said definitively that Vettel has a “complex understanding” with Ferrari for 2014:

    “…Holding onto Sebastian Vettel in 2014 will be the next challenge for the team. He has a complex understanding with Ferrari which could see him join the team provided that a series of performance and other clauses are met in the 2013 season by the Maranello squad. This would see him partner Fernando Alonso from 2014 onwards.”

    Were you wrong or is Vettel lying?

    If the Vettel to Ferrari talk is just “rumours” as you now describe, it looks like you may have been the origin of these rumours.

    1. James Allen says:

      I said that normally very reliable Italian sources say that he has such an understanding.

      I don’t know how to answer the question, it’s one of those situations where still waters run deep. Ferrari moves are often like this

      1. B Grylls says:

        Keep in mind, Vettel approached the taboliod so this looks to me like a way to smoothen the damage done by entering into the understanding with Ferrari. I guess RBR were not very pleased and this might be a way to move the focus to present and the performance he’s expected to deliver in RBR.

        BG

  27. Kay says:

    I dislike this guy Vettel, but good call on him for not joining an uncompetitive Ferrari and rather stay put at RBR where he has better chance of driving a good car to deliver WDC.

    If German GP this weekend end up having Vettel + MSC on the podium, the fans would be sooooooooooooooooooooooo gutted.

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