Updates on the Nürburgring Situation.

Freitag, 03. April 2015

Updates on the Nürburgring Situation.

So much going on, hard to keep track. Find some facts plus my comments on ownership, Formula 1, Rock am Ring and the Nissan GT3 accident.

Ownership

One year ago the Ring has been sold for €77m to Capricorn/Getspeed. It turned out they didn’t have the required funds and in fact failed to pay the 2nd rate. Instead of revisiting the sale process the administrators sold Capricorn’s stake to a Russian investment group, of which only Viktor Charitonin has been made public. As the full sale price is pending, the Ring is now rented out to the Russians and Getspeed. These two stakeholders are fighting each other and have met in court already.

Comment: the sale process was a fake from the start. Government decided behind the scenes to whom to sell and Capricorn did sound like a nice automotive and regional company. As they never had the financial backing they should have never been in the position to buy. It collapsed soon and now it’s all in pieces and the two potential owners fighting each other. We even don’t know who precisely is that Russian group of investors. Recent business decisions and 2016 discussions with organisers however indicate that they are only interested in one thing: money.

Formula 1

The Nürburgring F1 race has been scheduled by FIA for July this year - in line with the alternating Hockenheim agreement. Nürburgring - or rather the Russian/Getspeed group - failed to find an agreement with Ecclestone and the race got cancelled by FIA.

Comment: I’m not a big fan of F1, but the worldwide attention is enormous. Every 2 years media did jump to any F1 related news and Nürburgring participated a lot. As did the region, because the international attendance left a lot of money in the otherwise not-so-busy Eifel region. This is now all gone. Ecclestone’s conditions come as no surprise, but the sudden reluctance to accept them does. Once F1 is gone it’s hard to bring it back - Nürburgring has been without F1 in the 90s and it was tough. If F1 is feasible every two years in Hockenheim, why not at the Ring? I blame the new management and the general lack of promotion skills for losing this important event.

Rock am Ring

This music festival got invented in the 80s and has been a huge success story since. It has been organized by Marek Lieberberg and the Ring got its portion of the profit. New Capricorn/Getspeed management decided that their profit share should be higher - however they failed to seal a contract with Lieberberg. As a consequence Lieberberg moved “Rock am Ring” to nearby Mendig airfield, while Capricorn/Getspeed partnered with DEAG, who invented the “Grüne Hölle Rock”. While Lieberberg’s festival is sold out (>80k tickets), DEAG failed big time. Yesterday they announced to move “Grüne Hölle Rock” to Gelsenkirchen/Schalke04 football arena. For the first time since 20 years Nürburgring is without music festival.

Comment: Thanks to the greedy attitude of (Capricorn)/Russians/Getspeed management they lost it all. Their communication concerning their festival decisions could not have been more arrogant - and their failure they are now faced with could not have been bigger. The Nürburgring brand name has been damaged a lot and the region loses another big turnover generator. Lieberberg couldn’t be happier - it turns out Mendig is much better suited for his event. He is gone for good.

Nissan GT3 Accident.

In the first hour of the first VLN endurance race Jann Mardenborough caught air going over the Quiddelbacher Höhe crest, which ended in a nasty accident. The car hit the tire wall and got catapulted over the FIA fence, killing a spectator and injuring others as a consequence. It was the first time a spectator got harmed or even killed during VLNs long history.

Comment: That accident is a nightmare coming true. GT3s are allowed on Nordschleife only since 2009 and they have build up great performance since then. What was planned as a low budget GT alternative has quickly developed into high level manufacturers sport. While this might be a good idea for modern GP courses, it’s disaster waiting to happen for Nordschleife. GT3 is a homologated international class, which means organizers at Nürburgring have limited influence into the year-over-year development. We now are facing the threat that the track needs to be adopted to the race cars - rather than the other way round. Manufacturers have full control over the organizers decisions and works GT3s racing on Nordschleife pose much risk to the track itself. I’m a big fan of sports cars, but I’m a bigger fan of Nordschleife and I don’t see anybody powerful enough to protect the track against OEM business decisions.

Overall the situation for Nürburgring and Nordschleife in particular couldn’t be worse. The downward spiral is picking up speed and it is becoming increasingly hard to find any remaining optimistic people. Save The Ring.

Tags: English | Insolvency | Formula1 | RockAmRing | Nissan |


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