21 Mar 2015

German Grand Prix axed

11:34 am on 21 March 2015

Germany will have no Formula One grand prix this year for the first time since 1960 after the sport's governing body issued a revised calendar without the July 19 round.

Formula One driver Nico Rosberg turns a corner.

Formula One driver Nico Rosberg turns a corner. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With Hockenheim and the Nuerburgring unwilling to host the race, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) confirmed Germany had been dropped and there would now be 19 rounds with a three week gap in July.

"The German Grand Prix has been withdrawn as the commercial rights holder and promoter did not reach agreement," the FIA says.

The decision comes five days after the season started in Australia but had been expected, with both circuits making their positions clear, despite Germany being the home of world champions Mercedes.

The Nuerburgring had been due to host the race under an alternation agreement with Hockenheim, who hosted it last year, but the circuit has changed ownership and baulked at paying the hosting fees.

Hockenheim, which has a contract for 2016, suffered poor attendances and substantial losses last season after only 52,000 people turned up on race day.

That circuit's officials were approached by commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone but made it clear they were not willing to host the race three years in a row unless they received outside assistance.

Germany has had a grand prix every season since 1960, and during Michael Schumacher's heyday enjoyed two races a year with the Nuerburgring home to the European Grand Prix while Hockenheim hosted the German GP.

The retirement of seven times world champion Schumacher at the end of 2012, after an unsuccessful comeback with Mercedes, led to a drop in attendances that Sebastian Vettel's four titles in a row with Red Bull failed to reverse.

The high price of tickets to cover the hosting fees demanded by commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and the return of Austria to the calendar last year, have been been blamed as contributory factors for the dwindling crowds.