Here’s the second part of Journeyer’s guide to the German Grand Prix.
After 1976 the German Grand Prix was no longer held at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. From 1977 to 2006 the race was held at the Hockenheimring with one exception – in 1985 when the race was run on the new Nurburgring circuit.
1977: For Niki Lauda, any return to racing would only be triumphant if it involved winning titles. And on his first German Grand Prix since his accident the year before, he won in relatively easy fashion. Jody Scheckter started on pole with his Wolf, but he couldn’t hold off the charging Lauda.
1982: This weekend was packed with drama. First, Didier Pironi crashed during qualifying, breaking his legs and forcing him out – not only of the championship he was leading at the time, but also of the sport.
Nelson Piquet led the race until the lapped Eliseo Salazar took him out. In the end, Patrick Tambay won in the sole remaining Ferrari – a tribute to his injured teammate as well as the driver he had replaced – the late Gilles Villeneuve.
1994: Twelve years on, refuelling had been re-introduced to F1, but it wasn’t without its dangers. Jos Verstappen’s Benetton went up in flames during its pitstop when some fuel leaked out – a scene more than a little reminiscent of 1976. The FIA subsequently discovered Benetton’s fuel rig was missing certain parts, but the team escaped a ban. Gerhard Berger won the race for Ferrari – their first since 1990.
1995: It was a long time coming, but a German finally won his home race for the first time in decades. But Michael Schumacher owed a lot of thanks to Damon Hill, who gifted him the win after spinning out at the first turn of lap two.
1997: Gerhard Berger took his first win in a Benetton in 1986, so it was appropriate that he took his last win in a Benetton as well, repeating his 1994 victory. Berger made a return to racing in triumphant fashion after missing the previous three races due to a sinus infection and his father’s death.
1999: Mika Salo took on Mika Hakkinen that year. With Hakkinen spinning out of the race at the stadium, Salo was fast enough to win. But there was a championship to be won, so Salo had to follow team orders and give up the win to Eddie Irvine. Alas, Irvine didn’t win the title, and Salo never had a shot of winning another Grand Prix.
2000: Another Ferrari number two – this time, Rubens Barrichello – took the win. Rubinho’s first win had a bit of everything – guts (Barrichello fought back from 17th on the grid to 3rd), luck (an ex-Mercedes employee walked out onto the track, bringing out the Safety Car and bunching everyone up), and some more guts (Barrichello decided to stay on dries on a half-wet, half-dry track, and he stayed fast enough to win).
2003: This was the second year of the new layout (which cut out the long blasts into the forest), but it didn’t take anything away from the action. Championship contenders Raikkonen, Barrichello, and Ralf Schumacher all crashed at the first turn. Michael Schumacher was the lucky beneficiary, managing to climb up to second, only to suffer a puncture. That left Juan Pablo Montoya to win by a minute from the rest of the field.
2006: As it turned out, this was Michael Schumacher’s last home race. And he and Felipe Massa took a one-two in dominant fashion. But it wasn’t without controversy: Renault’s mass dampers were banned before this race, forcing the French team to take them off their cars, losing significant pace.
With Schumacher’s retirement, the German Grand Prix had a new arrangement, being alternated between the new Nurburgring (which had been hosting the European/Luxembourg Grand Prix for a decade) and Hockenheim.
But Hockenheim didn’t want to give up the German Grand Prix name, forcing the Nurburgring to stick to the European Grand Prix name. That left the German Grand Prix off the calendar last year. With the European Grand Prix now at Valencia, it’s not clear what next year’s race at the Nurburgring will be called.