Ralf backs single German race

Wed, 18 January 2006, 02:26

Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher has backed a proposal for Germany’s two grand prix circuits to host Formula One races in alternate years.

“If race tracks can’t afford Formula One every year, for whatever reason, maybe its quite a good idea to adapt to that (alternation) for a while,” the German told Reuters at a recent pre-season event.

“It doesn’t really matter to me. I know both the circuits so well, one year here and another there is quite a good idea,” added Ralf, who has won races at both the Nuerburgring and Hockenheim.

Hockenheim hosts the German Grand Prix while the Nuerburgring has the European Grand Prix.

Neither circuit is making the money it used to, with Hockenheim saddled with an estimated operating loss of around 1.5 million euros ($1.79 million) for 2006.

Track operators said last month that they were considering holding races in alternate years.

“That is an idea of ours, it has been welcomed by (Formula One supremo) Bernie Ecclestone,” Walter Kafitz, general manager of the Nuerburgring, told General Anzeiger newspaper.

Ecclestone is eager to introduce new races without expanding the calendar beyond the existing 19 rounds. Both Germany and Italy, with Imola and Monza, have two grands prix each.

BMW compatriot Nick Heidfeld was less supportive of the sharing suggestion.

“Obviously as a German driver I enjoy having two home grands prix,” he said at the launch of BMW’s Formula One challenger on Tuesday. “I don’t know what would be fair but definitely I would prefer to keep two races in Germany.”


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