Germany is a nation steeped in Formula 1 history, both for its drivers (Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Rosberg securing 12 World Championships) and its fantastic circuits (Hockenheim and Nürburgring). However, it has not hosted a Grand Prix since 2020.
The country is also deeply rooted in the automotive industry, boasting brands like Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, and Audi. It has turned its national touring car series, the “Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters” (DTM), into a globally recognized sport.
The times when Germany played such a significant role in motorsports seem to be over, with no sign of a potential resurgence.
However, several German circuits are still part of the calendars for various junior categories, and the German Formula 4 (ADAC) championship remains an important stepping stone for talents aiming to reach F1. But what went wrong in the relationship with the premier class of Motorsport?
The beginning of the end
From the mid-1990s to 2006, Germany hosted two Grand Prix races each year. Formula 1 raced on the fantastic tracks of Hockenheimring and Nürburgring. However, things changed after Schumacher’s departure.
After 2006, Michael Schumacher hung up his helmet for the first time, concluding his career with Ferrari. With the departure of the national hero, among the five German drivers in Formula 1 in 2007, none managed to maintain the fans’ interest in those years.
The popularity of F1 in Germany declined sharply, and from then on, Hockenheimring and Nürburgring struck a deal to alternate hosting races every other year.
Later, in 2008, a global economic crisis occurred, impacting Formula 1 organizations. BMW left the paddock, the Nürburgring was running out of financial resources, and a German driver capable of emulating Schumacher was still missing.
In 2010, when the seven-time world champion returned to F1 with the historic Mercedes team, interest began to grow again. Then, Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive titles (from 2010 to 2013), and from 2014 onward, the Silver Arrows established themselves as the top team in the Circus, with Nico Rosberg securing a championship in 2016.
It seemed like Germany had fully recovered, but it wasn’t the case.
Not even the pandemic saved the GP
The agreement with Formula 1 to organize the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring expired in 2019. Still, in the following year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country rejoined the paddock with both a race (this time at the Nürburgring) and a driver (Hulkenberg drove for Racing Point on three occasions, twice replacing Pérez and once Stroll).
From then on, despite the arrival of Mick Schumacher and Hulkenberg’s “full-time” return to the grid, the nation has not hosted another race, and there are still no encouraging signs for the future.