|Events||Formula One; DTM|
|Record driver||Kimi Räikkönen|
The Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg is a motor racing circuit situated near the town of Hockenheim in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Amongst other motor racing events, it holds the annual Formula One German Grand Prix. Situated in the Rhine valley, the circuit is completely flat, without any changes in elevation.
1930s - 1960s
Hockenheimring was built 1932 using roads in the forest, originally as an alternative to the Wildpark-Circuit in Karlsruhe, which became forbidden as a racing circuit by German officials. It was used for motorcycle racing and was expanded to be used as test track for Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union in 1936. In 1938 it was renamed to Kurpfalzring, which lasted until 1947. After the war, Grand Prix motorcycle racing events were held, with the German motorcycle Grand Prix alternating between Hockenheim and other tracks.
The original circuit was almost eight kilometres long and consisted of two long straights with a long "Eastern" corner in the forest and a U-turn inside Hockenheim joining them together.
1960s - 2000s
In 1965, when the new Autobahn A 6 separated the village from the main part of the track, a new version of Hockenheim circuit was built, with the "Motodrom" stadium section. After Jim Clark was killed in 1968 in a Formula 2 racing accident, two chicanes and armco were added. In 1980, another chicane was added at the Ostkurve (east curve), after Patrick Depailler was killed there.
This version used to be quite large, with a very long, fast section going through forests essentially consisting of four straights of roughly 1.3 km, separated by a chicane sequence, followed by a more tight and twisty "stadium" section (so called because of all the grandstands situated there) named Motodrom. This made setting racing cars up difficult, as a choice had to be made - whether to run low downforce to optimise speed through the straights and compromise grip in the stadium section, or vice-versa.
In the early 2000s, F1 officials demanded a shortening of the 6.8 km track, threatening to discontinue to race here, moving to new sites in Asia and elsewhere. The state government of Baden-Württemberg secured the financing of the redesign by Hermann Tilke for the 2002 German Grand Prix. The stadium section remained mainly intact, despite a new surface and a tighter Turn 1 ("Nordkurve"). However, the circuit was dramatically shortened, with the long, sweeping forest section chopped off in favour of more tight corners. As always happens when a circuit is redesigned, this has led to grumbles that the track is not as good as it used to be, although the tight hairpin following the very long back straight offers an overtaking possibility.
The circuit has a capacity of 120,000, due to new large grandstands sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.
The Hockenheim Circuit hosted the German Grand Prix for the first time in 1970 when the F1 drivers decided at the French Grand Prix to boycott the Nürburgring unless major changes were made. In the next year the German Grand Prix went back to the Nürburgring until the 1976 German Grand Prix. From 1977 to 2006 the Hockenheimring hosted the German Grand Prix with the exception of 1985 when the newly rebuild Nürburgring was introduced.
In July 2006 Bernie Ecclestone announced that from 2007 on there will be one Grand Prix in Germany. Since 1995 the Nürburgring hosted either the European Grand Prix or the Luxembourg Grand Prix making Germany the only country with two Grand Prixs a year for a longer time. It is planned that Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternate hosting the German Grand Prix, starting with the Nürburgring in 2007.
Deaths from crashes
- Hockenheimring Circuit History and Statistics
- Circuit profile on Formula1.com
- Ciro Pabón's Racetracks 3D views and virtual laps of all F1 circuits, including this one, via Google Earth