The Hockenheimring circuit from above
(Photo from: www.nytimes.com)
After a year sabbatical the German Grand Prix returns this year to Hockenheim, one of the most famous circuits on the calendar. Originally built in 1932 the circuit was famous for its long straights that disappeared into the forests only separated by three chicanes before heading back into the stadium section.
However the circuit was redeveloped in 2002, and dramatically shortened from 4.24 miles to 2.84 miles, after the old Hockenheimring was deemed unsuitable for modern F1, on both safety and spectator grounds. The reasoning given was that the majority of the action occurred at the chicanes, where spectators were unable to view and the security in the woods was not up to the standards of F1 following an incident in 200 when a spectator was able to get onto the track.
The old circuit has now been reclaimed by natured and once where roaring engines flew past are now trees. However the new circuit poses its own challenges with the longest bend on the F1 calendar and a tricky hairpin, known as the best spot to overtake at.
Despite the wow factor not being as strong as the old Hockenheim the circuit poses its own challenges and character, as well as reliability is now a lot better meaning more cars finish, after many used to have either engine or transmission failures due to the constant high speeds.
In the week between the two races a few stories have been revealed. The first being the Lewis Hamilton has dismissed sparking an investigation into his teammates qualifying lap which saw Nico Rosberg claim pole after going through a double waved yellow section on the circuit. Rosberg was investigated however his lap was able to stand.
The other piece of news regarding the race weekend is that drivers are going to ask for clarification from the FIA regarding position defending rules following Max Verstappen’s defence of fifth place of Kimi Räikkönen which saw the Finn complain about the young Dutchman’s tactics. During the race Räikkönen voiced his frustration at Verstappen over the radio criticising him of making more than move in the braking zones. One supposed move ended in the Ferrari driver losing part of his front wing after clipping the rear of the Rrf Bull driver at turn 2.
The driver who will be raising those concerns is Force India’s Sergio Perez who himself made headlines after saying he may not be at Force India next season. The Mexican has been linked with several drives up and down the paddock, one being the second Ferrari drive before Räikkönen was announced, and has now seen himself linked with Williams and Renault.
Hockenheim is the last race before the Formula 1 summer break and whoever leads the standings after Sunday’s race will have a much stronger mental state during the break.