On the F1 grid today Germany is represented by a championship-winning team, a four-times champions driver and another multiple race-winner.
Germany has also held more rounds of the world championship than any country apart from Italy, Yet despite that it has lost its place on the Formula One calendar this year.
And there are now concerns Italy could be the next venue to lose its F1 race as Formula One continues to leave traditional venues behind ? and move races further away from its exclusively Europe-based teams.
Is the championship is broadening its horizons ? or losing its identity?
F1 races by country, 1950-2015
At present no country holds more than one round of the championship. However in the past F1 has taken advantage of surges of popularity in particular regions to put on extra races.
For a long time Italy had a second race dubbed the San Marino Grand Prix which was held at Imola, some 80 kilometres outside of the tiny republic. In the eighties the USA held up to three races per season under a variety of names. More recently the European Grand Prix was held in Britain, Spain and, most frequently, Germany.
The popularity of Michael Schumacher sustained Germany?s two rounds of the championship at the Hockenheimring and Nurburgring. But from 2007, the year after Schumacher?s first retirement, the two circuits began hosting a single Germany round on an alternating basis.
However the Nurburgring?s recent financial problems, which led to its sale to Capricorn Development last year, cast doubt on its future as a grand prix venue. Among the rival bids turned down was one from Bernie Ecclestone, who faced a bribery trial in Germany in 2014 which was concluded by a settlement.
Ecclestone entered talks to move this year?s race to the Hockenheimring. But despite Mercedes offering to cover some of the losses the circuit might incur, having been disappointed by the poor turn-out at last year?s race, no deal was reached for the race to continue this year.
Despite losing its F1 race the Nurburgring is set to hold its first round of the re-formed World Endurance Championship, where both Audi and Porsche compete, and will also be visited by the DTM where Mercedes alse compete alongside Audi and BMW.
The success of a major local manufacturer ? not to mention Sebastian Vettel?s four consecutive drivers? championship titles ? was not enough to sustain Germany?s round of the championship. But surely the same could not happen in the backyard of Formula One?s most famous team?
F1 races in Europe, 1950-2015
Of the 935 rounds of the world championship which will have been held by the end of this season, Europe accounts for 592 ? almost two-thirds:
The Gran Premio d?Italia is one of only two races which has never been absent from the world championship calendar ? the other being the British Grand Prix. And no circuit has held more F1 races than Monza ? it?s only missed one since the championship was inaugurated.
But for all the passion of the Ferrari tifosi, the heritage of one of the world?s oldest permanent racing circuits, and even agreements within F1 intended to protect historic events on the calendar, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza is in jeopardy.
Although a healthy crowd of feverish fans assembles beneath Monza?s superb podium every year, they are part of a gradually declining race day crowd. Rising ticket prices, Italy?s economic torpor and the relatively poor showing by the home favourites in recent years are among the factors considered responsible.
When it comes to negotiating prices for future races Ecclestone likes to play one venue off against another, and for a while a rumoured grand prix on a street circuit in Rome provided that service. But that?s been off the table since 2011. Now Monza?s centenary approaching in 2022, and the promoters? obvious desire to have a race that year may be Ecclestone?s best bargaining chip when they seek to extend the current deal which expires after next year?s race.
The simple fact is heritage, local interest or even the quality of a circuit?s layout have zero bearing on who gets to hold a grand prix. If a promoter is willing to pay Ecclestone?s prices, little else matters.
His views on the likelihood of European promoters being able to foot his bills have been clear for some time. ?People should worry about our economy and the fact that in 10 years? time Europe will be a third world region, taken over by Asia and Latin America,? said Ecclestone in 2004 (a claim he repeated recently).
He was speaking at a time when the proportion of races in Europe had just fallen from 62.5% to 55.5%. Today European races account for 36.8%.
How much further can that figure fall? And how much longer can Formula One?s struggling teams afford to participate in a calendar where almost two-thirds of the races are a long-haul flight away?
How many F1 raes each country has held
|Country||Races||First||Last||Under other titles||Titles|
|Italy||93||1950||2015||27||Pescara, San Marino|
|United Arab Emirates||7||2009||2015||7||Abu Dhabi|
|USA||66||1959||2015||11||Indianapolis 500, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Long Beach|
Notes on the data
The above assumes all 19 races on the 2015 F1 calendar go ahead.
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