Formula One™ drivers, teams and fans alike are looking forward to the last race before the summer break, the FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND 2016.
While the break is incredibly welcome for a series that visits 21 different countries between March and November, everyone wants to go into the hiatus with momentum that can be carried into the final, nine-race stretch that culminates with the season-ending 2016 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX Nov. 27.
The original Hockenheimring was built in 1939 as a high-speed test track for Mercedes-Benz, which needed a venue to test for the Tripoli Grand Prix. It was almost eight kilometers in length, nearly twice the distance of the track’s current layout. The Hockenheimring of today is very different from the one Formula One™ first visited in 1970. The rebuilt 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn Hockenheimring has hosted Formula One™ since 1970, with this year’s event serving as the venue’s 35th grand prix.
In 2002 came another track redesign. Since then, the incredibly long straights through the forest, consigned to history are gone. The current track, however, is still plenty fast, with drivers reaching speeds in excess of 280 kph (174 mph) in the opening section alone. Drivers are at full throttle for two-thirds of every lap, putting exorbitant stress on engines and the fuel they consume. The mix of speeds between the straights and corners gives the new Hockenheimring plenty of character, and with the redesign, plenty of sight lines for the fans in attendance.
Going back to Hockenheim isn’t exactly like visiting a new circuit – as the German track is an established venue – but this year that is almost the case, as the last time an F1 race was held there was in 2014, the first season of the new hybrid era. Since then, there has been plenty of car evolution. As a result, we can expect lap times that are considerably quicker than they were two years ago, with a consequent increased demand on tyres.
- Kimi Raikkonen holds the race lap record at the Hockenheimring (1:13.780) set in 2004 with McLaren.
- Michael Schumacher holds the qualifying lap record at the Hockenheimring (1:13.306), set in 2004 with Scuderia Ferrari.
Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton said about taking the lead in the championship last weekend: “Getting that win in Hungary after a less than straightforward weekend was a great feeling. If I can come out on top when things aren’t quite perfect, that can only be a good thing. Now it’s off to Germany and another one of the team’s home races after Silverstone. It’s great to be going back there. My last win in Hockenheim came way back in 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago, but I’ve got some great memories from the circuit and the country itself. I raced there a lot when in my early career in the junior racing formulae and, of course, I’ve been part of the Mercedes-Benz family since way back when. It would be great to get another win there for all our Mercedes employees and for the team, too, before the summer break. The last few races have been good for me, so if I can continue that form into this weekend I’ll be in good shape.”
Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg says about his upcoming home race: “It was disappointing to lose the race at the first corner in Hungary. But I was really happy with my pace all weekend, so that gives me good confidence moving forwards. I’m happy to have the chance to get back in the car again so soon – and especially happy that it’s at my second home race. I had a fantastic day at Hockenheim a few weeks ago driving Mika Häkkinen’s Championship-winning car. That really gave me a massive buzz to be back racing in Germany. Driving in through the circuit gates brought back so many great memories – from my childhood days at the DTM with my Dad right through to winning the Grand Prix for myself in 2014. Hopefully I can repeat that this year for the fans and for everybody at Mercedes. After this race it’s a well-earned break for the team, too. I’ll be pushing flat out to give them the result they deserve before they get some time to recharge their batteries.”
Photos curtesy of Hockenheim-Ring GmbH, Sutton Images and Neuschwansteiner-Sutton.
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