Motorsport and Germany go hand in hand, and following a one-year absence from the Formula 1 calendar, we have a delighted and rather excited racing driver who’s eager for the return of his home race.
Nico was a little touchy last season without a German Grand Prix, settling instead for Monaco and Austria as his unofficial home outings over the course of 2017. But now it’s back, it means he’s happy, the fans are happy, we’re happy and – crucially - refreshed after a week off. It’s time to get back to it.
Germany boasts a whole host of legendary race circuits: the Nürburgring, the Norisring and the Sachsenring to name a few, and then there’s this one, the Hockenheimring. It sits quietly in the west of the country, next to the town of Hockenheim in the middle of the countryside with tractors and combine-harvesters the more likely method of transport when the Grand Prix isn’t on. Come this weekend though, the passionate German fans will flock in their thousands, leather jackets on, crates in hand, and descend on the Rhine Valley to get a glimpse of the action.
If you want to experience the German Grand Prix in true style, then ditch the hotel, the comfy bed and a daily three-course meal. It’s time to pack your tent, the disposable BBQ and of course the deckchair (this is a must), ready to camp it out in the forest. Nothing beats the smell of a Bratwurst over the campfire in the evening, before partying outside with the German fans. Just be prepared for the sore head the next morning as you wake-up to the roar of Formula 1 engines echoing between the trees. When in Rome and all that.
The Hockenheimring has changed its layout frequently across its 86 years existence. The original Dreieckskurs course dipped into the town of Hockenheim and was 12km in length, shortening as the years have gone by. Nowadays, it stretches just over 4.5km and is fast, full-on and popular amongst the drivers. From a spectators’ perspective, the viewing is very impressive. Once you crawl your way out from your camping spot - dodging camp fires and bottle heads from the night before - the best place to watch is in the famous stadium complex, which borders the final few corners and the start-finish straight. Follow up with more partying ‘til the early hours, BBQ, a short camping snooze and it’s time to do it all over again the next day! It’s a fun-filled weekend all round. It’s the never-ending cycle for the German GP.
As well as staging on-track battles from the racing rock and roll stars of yesteryear, the Hockenheimring has played host to a range of stellar music concerts in the past. Michael Jackson toured there twice in 1988 and 1997, as did The Rolling Stones in 1995 and 2003. AC/DC, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd and Robbie Williams have also graced the Hockenheim stage. Do check out our German GP playlist for a taster.
Away from the track, there isn’t an awful lot going on in this rural part of the world. Farmers reluctantly put their summer harvest on hold while the racing is on, and the town of Hockenheim does have a motor museum amongst its two attractions besides the water tower built in 1910. The River Rhine flows nearby, with the nearest cities to the circuit, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, well over 90km away.
Whatever you get up to in Germany, we’re happy to see it back on the Formula 1 calendar. Now it’s time to unleash The Hulk who is chomping at the bit for this one! Don’t forget the deckchair.