As the Formula 1 circus charts a course to Germany, most would have expected it to be at the Hockenheimring. However, when the FIA declared its calendar locations, there was a slight twist in the tale. The race in Germany is now due to take place at Nurburgring, named the ‘Eifel Grand Prix’.
Although not possessing the same fame and reputation as the German Grand Prix, Nurburgring has played host to F1 under different names. In the early 1960s, it was called the German GP.
But eventually, the Hockenheimring usurped that name. The FIA eventually believed that the alternation of tracks as the German GP could lead to licensing issues.
It then hosted races as the Luxembourg GP and later, as the European GP. But why is it that the Eifel GP has come to life under this particular name?
The reasoning is quite simple, actually. Held under the shadow of the magnificent Eifel mountain range, the race track honors this symbol of nature. Located close to the city of Cologne, the track has also had a rich history of hosting motorcycle racing championships.
Such is the enormity of the low-lying Eifel mountains range, that it stretches to across three nations in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. The racing track had undergone a reconstruction, owing to its very sharp and dangerous turns. Further, races have also taken place in rainstorms, making it even difficult for the competitors.
One would do well to recount the horrific crash Niki Lauda was involved in. On August 1, 1976, Nurburgring was given the opportunity of conducting the German GP.
But prior to the start of the race, Niki warned the other drivers about the track. He believed that it was extremely dangerous, owing to the fact that a rainstorm would play tricks on the track conditions. Additionally, the lack of safety arrangements also concerned him.
And so the worst thing possible happened. Suffering a suspension failure in his Ferrari, the racing legend went hurtling across the track. The car was up in flames almost instantly and he suffered serious burns.
The German GP was last held in Nurburgring in 2013. Sebastian Vettel, racing for Red Bull, took home the trophy on that occasion. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in the Renaults took second and third, respectively.
This season, the Eifel GP is set to take place between 9th to 11th October 2020.