23 Mar 2015

Mercedes backing for German GP rejected

2:40 pm on 23 March 2015

The Formula One world champions Mercedes have revealed they tried to keep the German Grand Prix on this year's calendar but an offer of financial assistance was rejected and the race was struck off.

Grand Prix Formula One Japan 2014.Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes.

Grand Prix Formula One Japan 2014.Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"The German GP is a core race on the Formula One calendar and we have a significant interest in this race taking place," the German carmaker said in a statement.

"Mercedes-Benz has participated in discussions and offered a significant contribution to support a successful German GP, at the Hockenheimring, in 2015. This offer was unfortunately not accepted."

Media reports indicated Mercedes had been willing to cover half of any potential losses and to pay for a significant amount of promotion.

Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation, issued a revised calendar on Friday with Germany absent for the first time since 1960.

The Nuerburgring had been due to host the July 19 race under an alternation agreement but a change of ownership and financial difficulties left Hockenheim as the only option.

However, with low attendances at that circuit last year, organisers were unwilling to risk a further loss with so little time to sell tickets and get ready. It still has a contract to host the race in 2016.

Mercedes said the calendar was a matter for the FIA, commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and individual promoters.

"In principle, we do not believe it is the job of the competing teams to provide financial support for individual events and we do not believe this is a sustainable model for the future," it said.

Germany has had a grand prix every season since 1960, and during Michael Schumacher's heyday enjoyed two races a year with the Nuerburgring home to the European Grand Prix while Hockenheim hosted the German GP.

The retirement of seven times world champion Schumacher at the end of 2012, after an unsuccessful comeback with Mercedes, led to a drop in attendances that Sebastian Vettel's four titles in a row with Red Bull failed to reverse.

The high price of tickets to cover the hosting fees demanded by commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and the return of Austria to the calendar last year, have been been blamed as contributory factors for the dwindling crowds.