Hockenheim's chances of holding the German Grand Prix next season have been dealt a major blow, with the local government refusing to continue to underwrite the loss-making race.
Hockenheim City Council – a 94 percent shareholder in the track – has voted unanimously to drop the race, according to the Deutsche Presse Agentur
, although it is understood that should Bernie Ecclestone be willing to negotiate a cheaper deal, the race could continue in 2010 – the final year of its current F1 contract.
Last year's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim ran at a loss of approaching six million Euros, with the 2010 race forecast to run at a similar deficit.
Ecclestone has written to organizers indicating that he is open to talks over the future of the race. A German event is crucial to a championship that includes Mercedes-Benz and BMW, as well as five German drivers including Sebastian Vettel, whose profile has risen massively in recent months.
The Nurburgring, which alternates the staging of Germany's grand prix with Hockenheim, is already concerned about the financial implications of having to run a race every year, meaning that it is not necessarily able to take over the event on a full-time basis.
Gunther Oettinger, the prime minister of Baden-Wurttemberg – the region in which Hockenheim is located, is planning to meet with Ecclestone in the next month, and is also pushing for funding from the national government. This gives hope that, despite the City Council's decision, Hockenheim could still have an F1 future.