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Formula 1 circuit

Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Hockenheimring
Race debut1970
Results for the 2016 German Grand Prix
Pole positionNico Rosberg
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapDaniel Ricciardo

The Hockenheimring is another German track that has been cut short, with safety concerns surrounding the longer version. Sweeping through deep forests, the circuit is hard on braking, and if temperatures are high, overheating machinery can be a problem. Hermann Tilke's form of long straights ending in tight corners is displayed for all to see in Hockenheim, but there are overtaking opportunities throughout that some of the newer tracks are missing.

F1 history

The track was originally a lot longer, nestling in the surrounding forests, and sweeping through the countryside. Safety concerns saw the lap shortened, and the circuit redesigned, which helped keep the racing up to date and modern. Many bemoaned the lack of character in the new version of the track, and there were a lot of complaints about the loss of personality.

However, Germany boasts a vibrant and engaged set of motorsport fans, many of whom cheered their seven times world champion Michael Schumacher to success, and are now watching Sebastian Vettel repeat such domination. With several German racers on the grid, there are always home racers to cheer on, and plenty of fans to do the supporting. The atmosphere around the circuit can’t be questioned, even if the on-track action doesn’t always deliver.

The lap opens with a fast corner that leads into a bumpy second turn, meaning there isn’t always the first lap chaos that can occur when the pack are backed up into each other. The old circuit veers off to the left but the new continues to the right with plenty of high speed straights to follow. Hermann Tilke’s hand is clear to see as each straight ends abruptly with a tight turn, which offer up a handful of overtaking opportunities.

As with every track, setting up the car correctly is crucial, and at Hockenheim it requires a compromise between top speed and stability under braking. The track is one of the hardest on the brakes, and in high temperatures there can be reliability problems throughout the field over the course of a full two hour race.

The final part of the lap has grandstands lining the track, allowing the fans to get closer to the action, and the drivers to appreciate those who have come to support them. It can be a claustrophobic end to the lap, but then the start/finish line is crossed and the drivers set off again to try and top their previous time.

The track was part of an alternating deal with the Nürburgring, but ahead of the 2015 season, it became clear that the other German track wouldn't be able to continue as hosts. Hockenheim underwent negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone, but stuck to their own bi-annual schedule meaning the race drops off the calendar every other year.

Learn more about Hockenheim with the Pocket F1 Handbook.