F1: The History of the German Grand Prix, Ferrari Dominant
Germany has returned to the F 1 calendar in 2018, with Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Sebastian Vettel poised to claim victory on home soil.
Hockenheim previously shared hosting duties with the Nürburgring, but since the latter changed ownership in Y 2014 and a deal could not be reached, the German Grand Prix has only taken place on even years.
In the previous 62 German Grands Prix, Scuderia Ferrari has been dominant. Although its most recent victory in Germany came in Y 2012 with Fernando Alonso, Ferrari has won 21 times.
Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in Germany, with 4 victories to his name, and 3 of those; Ys 2002, 2004 and 2006 came with The Scuderia while his Y 1995 victory coming with Benetton-Renault.
The race was 1st officially held in Y 1951, the legendary Nordschleife, or “Green Hell,” was the regular host venue. Punctuated only by a trip to Automobil Verkehrs und Ubungs-Strasse in Y 1959, an absence from the calendar in Y 1960 and a 1st visit to the Hockenheimring in Y 1970, the Nordschleife was the home of the German Grand Prix until Y 1976.
The Nordschleife is the 2nd most deadly venue eve raced on in official F1 Grand Prix.
In the past 18 years, 5 drivers have died at the Nordschleife; between Ys 1950 and 1960, when the Indy 500 was a part of the F1 calendar, 7 people died at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
.The 14.2-mile circuit was last used in Y 1976, with the end coming for the venue’s relationship with F1 after Niki Lauda’s near-death accident.
Hockenheim then took over and has hosted the majority of German Grand Prix since then, although the track has undergone some major changes in that frame.
The original layout, viewed by many as the best version on the circuit, featured four long straights punctuated by tricky little chicanes. The stadium section at the end of the lap is a remnant of the original layout, as is the first corner, but aside from that, the circuit was completely changed between 2001 and 2002.
The changes shortened the track. Previously a length of 4.24 miles, the track now stands at just 2.84 miles, with lap times almost 30 secs faster as a result.
Jochen Rindt won the 1-off race at Hockenheim in Y 1970, and the Austrian was the closest that Germany came to a home winner until Schumacher won in Y 1995.
In Y 1977, the first of Hockenheim’s Grand Prix in their multiyear agreement, a second Austrian won: Niki Lauda, on his 1st return to Germany after the accident that nearly cost him his life.
A much shortened version of the Nordschleife, the Nurburgring, hosted Michele Alboreto’s Y 1985 win, but this was a 1-off before Hockenheim took control of the next 21 consecutive Grands Prix.
In Y 2007, Germany was dropped from the calendar.
With Hockenheim struggling financially, the Nurburgring still featured, but it was titled as the European Grand Prix, something that had been a frequent occurrence during Michael Schumacher’s career, with German interest peaking during that frame.
In recent years, Hockenheim and the Nurburgring have alternated as the F1 host, but the recent change of ownership at the Nurburgring has put future events there in doubt.
Of the current drivers, Lewis Hamilton has 3 German Grand Prix winners trophies; 2 from Hockenheim and 1 from the Nurburgring. Sebastian Vettel has 1 win, though it was at the Nurburgring, and Fernando Alonso has 3 Hockenheim wins.
Hamilton Vs Vettel Sunday
While Toto Wolff is confident MercedesAMG has the fastest and therefore hope for a front row lockout, it would be interesting if MercedesAMG and Ferrari are split after qualifying Saturday.
If it is a Hamilton-Vettel or a Vettel-Hamilton front row Sunday, there could real action at the start. With the championship fight being tight, if 1 makes a mistake, the other will capitalize.
Both drivers on the same tire strategy, it could come down to a strategy call race by the teams.
So far this season, MercedesAMG have been overzealous with their strategy calls and have made mistakes as a result of them.
The Big Q: If the race comes down to a pit call, can Mr. Hamilton trust his engineers or will he gamble in the hopes that Ferrari will be taken by surprise and falter?
The Big A: Tune in
German Grand Prix (all times EDT)