It seems that Audi may well bring Formula 1 back to Germany. The arrival of Audi in F1 in 2026 could mean the return of Germany and the German Grand Prix to the motorsport calendar in the next few years.
Jorn Teske, the managing director of the Hockenheimring, says he is completely open to the idea of a rotation with the Nürburgring track if it will bring Formula One back to Germany in the long term.
Formula One has not visited Germany since the 2020 season when the Eifel Grand Prix was held behind closed doors at the Nürburgring during the Covid-19 health crisis. But since the official announcement that German manufacturer Audi will be entering F1 from 2026, there have been rumours that a rotation between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim could become a reality.
German Grand Prix
The German Grand Prix was held annually at the Hockenheimring between 1977 and 2006 (with the exception of 1985). In the period from 1995 to 2007, Germany hosted its own F1 race, the European Grand Prix.
Originally scheduled to begin in 2007, Hockenheim and the Nürburgring alternated hosting the German Grand Prix between 2008 and 2014, with the Nürburgring pulling out of hosting the event in 2015, leaving Hockenheim as the sole host of the race, but only on a rotating basis until 2018.
A further one-year deal placed the German Grand Prix on the 2019 calendar.
As of 2023, a race under the name of ‘German Grand Prix’ has not been run again although Germany hosted the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Audi in Formula 1
2026 will be a big year for F1 with new engine regulations, but also a new name as Audi enters the sport for the first time. Following its announcement to supply engines to Sauber, Audi is now taking the next step and acquiring a minority stake in the Swiss outfit.
Sauber currently races as an Alfa Romeo team using Ferrari engines. It will continue to use their power units when it is expected to return to the Sauber name for 2024 and 2025, before becoming an Audi factory team and using Audi engines for its entry into the sport.
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F1 is failing in Germany
It is a fact that TV ratings for F1 races in the country are falling. There hasn’t been a Grand Prix race in Germany since 2020 and Niko Hülkenberg is the only German left behind the wheel of an F1 car.
The current problem is that the country loved its championship-winning drivers more than the sport itself. In the early 2000’s, when Michael Schumacher won one race out of two and the title annually, the love of F1 really took off. Then in the 2010s, with Sebastian Vettel dominating the field, the love was rekindled. However, when Nico Rosberg won with a German manufacturer in 2016, the jump in support was not as high as before.
Audi plans to bring back F1 to Germany
When asked about the rumours that F1 could return to Germany by means of a rotation between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim tracks, the CEO of the Hocknheim says he is very happy that Audi’s is arriving in Formula 1. He confirmed that it could eventually bring the elite category back to the country.
“We are looking forward to further discussions about a return of Formula 1 to Germany, and we are happy that Audi’s arrival has brought a new dynamic,” Jorn Teske told Sport 1.
“Of course, the contact with Formula 1 has never been broken, but that doesn’t mean that there is anything new to announce.”
“We know that Formula 1 and we have a great interest in finding ways in the medium term that would ensure that Formula 1 comes back to Germany regularly. But we also know that it is not easy.”
“So when a global player like Audi breaks new ground, we welcome it and are very interested in exchanging ideas with everyone involved.”
“We really want Formula 1 to come back to Germany. We know how important the pinnacle of motorsport is for a motor racing circuit on the one hand, but also for the whole region on the other.”
“We know that we owe our reputation to Formula 1, and we are doing everything we can to bring it back. But we are also convinced that a Formula 1 race should not ruin us. In this respect, we must look for ways to reconcile the different interests.”
“We have said in the past that it is not at all about making a lot of money from Formula 1. We just don’t want to make a loss. If we can find a way to do that, or if someone can take that risk away from us, then there is nothing to stop us working on the details.”
“But if as in the past you are paying a higher entrance fee that can hardly be refinanced by ticket sales and side sales, we don’t think that is realistic.”
Rotation is the way forward
On the subject of a possible rotation with the Nürburgring, Jorn Teske insists that he has no objections and that it is actually a very good idea.
“I think it is a very good idea to have an alternative solution. I can understand that Formula 1 wants variety in the race calendar. On the other hand, we would just be mobilising the huge resources needed to run a Formula One race every two years.”
“However, we would still retain the image and status of a Formula 1 circuit. In that respect, it is absolutely ideal.”
“If there was then a rotation of the two German circuits, i.e. with the colleagues at the Nürburgring, this would suit the German fans and myself perfectly.”
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Probably not, or at least not in the foreseeable future & the rotation thing eventually proved unideal financially for both Hockenheim & Nurburgring, so I somewhat doubt they’d be okay with doing that again.