Changing tracks: Hockenheimring

Changing tracksPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Hockenheimring used to be one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, where F1 cars would blast through the forests at over 220mph (360kph).

But that all changed in 2002 when the circuit was drastically shortened. Here’s how the current tracks compares with the old one.

Hockenheimring, Germany – 1970

Length: 6.789km (4.218 miles)

There’s a certain amount of misplaced romanticism about the original Hockenheimring. The first configuration used by F1 in 1970 wasn’t thought of as fondly at the time as it is today.

It was first used as a substitute for the mighty Nurburgring Nordschleife – and was best known as being the circuit where Jim Clark lost his life in a Formula Two accident two years earlier.

Hockenheim took over as the home of the German Grand Prix in 1977. But as other tracks became increasingly alike, the unusual characteristics of the track gradually made it one of the more distinctive racing venues.

Until 2002 the only significant changes were a tightening of some of the chicanes and the installation of a new one at the Ostkurve after Patrick Depailer was killed there during testing in 1980.

Hockenheimring, Germany – 2010

Length: 4.574km (2.842 miles)

Circuit officials referred to the 2002 changes, paid for by the government at a cost of $45m, as ‘modernisation’.

But they could also have been termed ‘homogenisation’, for cutting back the long straights and adding a series of tight corners transformed the Hockenheimring into a circuit much like many others on the calendar.

There was a clear economic rationale behind this: it allowed the circuit to increase capacity from 83,000 to 120,000 and in some grandstand spectators were now able to see half of the track, where previously much of it had been obscured by trees. The reduced lap length meant more laps were covered, improving ticket value for spectators.

But the Hermann Tilke-devised changes robbed the track of its character. F1 drivers and team personnel had mixed views on the changes at the time.

Ralf Schumacher, the last person to win a race on the original Hockenheim, was firmly in favour, saying:

I am really enthusiastic about the new circuit. It is a lot of fun. The area before the hairpin offers a good opportunity for overtaking. The circuit is one of the best I have ever raced on, my compliments to the designer.
Ralf Schumacher

As was his brother, who won the first race on the shortened track:

In my opinion it is a great success. The new layout flows nicely and there are some overtaking opportunities. It is quite demanding.
Michael Schumacher

But Juan Pablo Montoya spoke for many of the drivers when he expressed his disappointment at the loss of the old track:

It’s a shame we lost the old track, a big, big shame. I flew over it and it’s like when you fly over Silverstone, you see the Grand Prix circuit and then suddenly you see the national circuit. It’s like that.

In public perspective it is probably better because people can see more, but it was a classic circuit. It was quite interesting, even if it was straight-chicane. To get the car right to go over the kerbs was difficult.

With the stadium section on low downforce it was like being on skids on snow. It was good fun. Now everybody is full downforce and it is like any other corner anywhere.
Juan Pablo Montoya

And Ron Dennis, then McLaren team principal, concurred:

It’s not Hockenheim anymore. These new circuit changes have cut the heart out of something which was very special, very emotional, something which had its own spirit.
Ron Dennis

Many drivers on the grid today never raced on the original circuit and most of those who did would rather have the old one back:

Hockenheim has some real history and in its old guise it demanded a lot from the drivers, in terms of set-up, driving and in getting all the little details right. However, now it?s a more conventional circuit, and while I like it, I preferred the old layout.
Jarno Trulli

What do you think of the modern version of the Hockenheimring? Have we seen better races since they changed the circuit? Have you spectated at the new or old versions of the track? Have your say in the comments.

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90 comments on “Changing tracks: Hockenheimring”

  1. In comparison to the old one it’s not as interesting, but in comparison to other circuits in the modern calendar it’s not a bad circuit or an annoying layout.

    F1 needs to bring back a circuit like the old Hockenheimring though, I think the ‘closest’ for now would be using the ‘outer course’ at Bahrain…. maybe.

    1. Why bring the old layout back? For historical reasons? I hope not – times change and so does F1. Look at the tracks 50 years ago – how many are still there in their original form and shape?

      1. Yeah, and for the better often too… I think we already have one with long straights and chicanes – Monza. Thight regular chicanes is one of the most boring things on a track – except from really long straights. Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka – Those are the best tracks in the world, and what do they consist of? Great medium to high-speed corners and combinations.

        1. No one would be complaining if the new Hockenheim was like Spa, Silverstone or Suzuka! Unfortunately it’s just like every other Tilke track.

    2. Apparently they can’t bring the old one back. Or at least there would be… some serious issues:

  2. Electrolite
    22nd July 2010, 13:03

    I remember racing this track when I was younger on Formula 1 2001 (an unpardonably terrible game I know) and even through the pixels I loved that track. But the new one I still like, however it was nice to have cars going that fast through the forest and the straight/chicane/straight/right turn really reminded me of Circuit La Sarthe.

    1. damonsmedley
      22nd July 2010, 15:33

      You remind me of my childhood disappointment – specifically in 2002! It was my first year of watching F1 regularly (and passionately) and I had been familiarising myself with upcoming rounds of the championship on F1 World Championship (1997) on Nintendo 64. I loved racing on that Hockenheim track and was eagerly looking forward to the real thing. In 2002 the coverage in Australia was even worse than now and the race would come on at around 1:00 am – far past the bed time of an 8 year old no matter how boundless my enthusiasm was!

      What a disheartening shock I received, for when I woke and played my timer-recorded VHS, I was horrified to see the changes! I was one year too late in jumping on the F1 fan’s bandwagon and I regret it to this day!

      Nevertheless, from what I can remember it was a good race wasn’t it? A nice battle between Raikkonen and Montoya if I remember correctly?

      1. Electrolite
        22nd July 2010, 16:56

        Haha I don’t remember much from 2002 if i’m being honest(i’m afraid I stopped watching quite early that season, thanks Mr Schumacher) Watching in Australia must be a bitch sometimes. But yeah I swear the first time I tried the new track on a game it ended horribly; probably involving 180 mph, a tire wall and bitter disappointment.

      2. I had F1 world Championship (97), it was my first computer game. :D.

        I still think that’s the best console based racing game I’ve ever seen.

        The new Hockenheim ring, For a “Modern” Circuit, is quite good. But, the old one, well…

        F1 will continues to remove the old circuits, Do you think Bernie realises we always like the “old” circuits?

        I just hope the balance between new and old doesn’t tip too far towards new.

  3. John Edwards
    22nd July 2010, 13:13

    I think shortening the track was justified, but the way they went about it was poorly executed.

    The drive down to the hairpin is pretty good and is the bit of the track that works well but the extra infield after that adds nothing to the lap whatsoever.

    If I’d have designed it I would have shortened it to about 3.5 miles taken the chicanes out and replaced them with proper corners and insert at least one screamer in there.

    The track now is bland as there isn’t one decent corner on the whole track.

    1. Yeah I agree they should have done it a different way.

      The first straight (after turn 1) should have included the whole leg of track from the previous version so that it included a taste of history.

      Otherwise I would have had no problems with it.

  4. I miss the old layout, mainly because I like variety on the F1 calendar.

    For me the biggest shame is that the old track was torn up so it is not as if it is possible to use it for other motorsport series.

    1. Allowing nature to take over in that manner saddened my heart as well. It’s as if they wanted to completely erase that track off the planet.

      1. It seems strange to me also that Google Maps (as well as Bing) still show the old circuit. That means some of their satellite images are nearly a decade old…

    2. The current f1 calender does lack in variety.
      I look foward to spa and monza every year because there truly fast interesting circuits.

      There used to be truly fast tracks on the calender:


      Look whats happened to all of these tracks

      These tracks now are all the same.

  5. Like the others, I miss the full Hockenheim circuit. It was unique, full throttle and utterly enthralling to watch. However, the new circuit is a very good circuit… it’s just a shame they destroyed something special to make it.

    1. I have some pictures somewhere of the old track, only after it was dug up. It’s quite sad, because you can see all the old spots where the track was, and you can remember parts of old races.

      To be honest, the pictures have a similar affect to WW1/2 memorials….
      I don’t believe in ghosts, but if I did, I would believe that old drivers would still be there.

  6. I can entirely understand why the organisers did what they did. But once again with my rose-tinted spectacles on, I prefer the old circuit. There was something highly evocative about the cars hurtling out of sight and into the woods. A bit like Monza I suppose, ghost of long passed greats included…

  7. The whole thing went wrong. They spent far to much money for the modifications to the circuit and business class grandstands. Now they are in trouble because there are only 60-70.000 people coming to see the race.
    So basically they should have kept their 83.000 spectator capacity and the character of the circuit, maybe by keeping the first run to the clark chicane and connecting it directly with the entrance of the motodrom.

    1. Yes, but back then they had the half of Germany coming around to see Micheal Schumacher, and his younger brother :) Maybe Vettel, Sutil, MSC, and Rosberg will draw a crowd once again?

      1. That picture reminds us of the days when BMW Williams were such a strong team challenging for victories

  8. I always found the old track to be cool, just like JPM said it was cool with no downforce in the Stadium section!

  9. For business it’s clear why they did what they did. But the character, the spirit, the challenge is gone. I think Montoya’s final paragraph sums up the old and the new very well.

    With the stadium section on low downforce it was like being on skids on snow. It was good fun. Now everybody is full downforce and it is like any other corner anywhere.

  10. I went a GP here in 2000 -when barichello won in the rain and that lunatic ran on the track. we had cheap tickets at the east end of the circuit. I remember the long long walk in the rain from the campsite through the flooded underpass. we arrived during saturday practice and the sound of the F1 engines in the forest really was something special.

    We were even able to walk back along the track after the race which was cool. walked on the main straight and had some banter with the jordan mechanics packing up. Then we went to the first corner and took photos with the finns who were celebrating beside the big hole in the tyre barrier that schumi made on the first corner!!
    good days..

    1. We were even able to walk back along the track after the race which was cool.

      So does that mean that the guy who was on the track during the race was simply trying to beat the crowds and get home early? :D

      1. he was actually down our end of the circuit but just around the corner from us so we couldn’t see him directly, only on the big screen. apparently he was a disgruntled mercedes employee or something. seriously dangerous though – at the point he was on the track the cars are at top speed – very lucky he wasn’t killed and maybe a driver too

  11. Actually, this is the third iteration of Hockers, although the first version was not a grand prix track. The original was opened in the 30’s and was about eight kilometres long. If you have a look at the top photograph and look at the bottom left, you will see the Autobahn. Before this was built, the track used to continue south-west and with a hairpin-ish bend almost in the town. If you look carefully, you can follow the lines of the original track towards the corner.
    Once the autobahn was built, the Motodrom was created.
    The old sweep out into the forest was so long that you could watch out of sight from the Motodrom, go and get a snack and have a drink before the cars returned.
    Once they introduced the chicanes, you had time to go to the loo as well!
    It’s not just an F1 circuit of course, and one of the final reasons for the removal of the forest section was the death of two side-car racers between the Ost curve and the Senna chicane I think, in the late 90’s. I’ve been trying to recall/find details without result. Can anyone else advise?
    The new track is fine, I think. The view from the Mercedes Benz stand along the back (curved) straight and then around the hairpin and right towards you in the infield is great. Never seen a Grand Prix from there, but the noise must be deafening.

  12. The original circuit shares my early F1 memories. I always looked forward to the German GP as it’s unique layout meant that it wasn’t always the same team that would have the advantage.

    I never went, as I was too young to go on my own. After they changed the layout I lost interest in going to the race. It was just another identical track in Europe.

  13. Robert McKay
    22nd July 2010, 14:12

    As a “Tilke venue” it’s actually not bad and has generally produced a lot of good overtaking and racing. I’d still rather go to new Hockenheim than some of the newer Tilke tracks.

    But it wasn’t like the old one didn’t having passing and great battles, and the sport has become desperately short of low-downforce, high-speed blast slipstream circuits with relatively simple layouts.

    There’s almost a case for having both the old track and the new one on the calendar, or even alternating the two, although neither will ever happen of course.

    1. It won’t happen because the old track is gone. The tarmac was torn up and left for the forest to grow over it.

      Very very sad.

      1. Matthew McMahon
        22nd July 2010, 17:53

        Shame. They should have kept it for local events or for special events or even as a reminder of the past. The old bank at Monza is still there albeit a bit overgrown.

  14. For me it is the biggest shame that F1 was given me over the years even more than Estoril,my “home” track..
    Just just wrong.

  15. I don’t know if many have read Martin Brundle’s excellent book ‘Working the Wheel’, but his chapter on Hockenheim is interesting. He doesn’t view the old layout with rose tinted glasses, finding it more an odd mixture of terrifying and quite dull. He comments that the effect of the long fast sections of the track was to spread the cars out meaning those actually at the track saw little in the way of action. His description of the effect on drivers is of them ‘being frightened silly those long straights to nowhere and back’.

    1. Interesting perspective.

      Back then, it was mostly about engine power. But now, with several teams using the same engine, it would have been really interesting to see what aerodynamic work to the cars teams would do, in order to gain that advantage back.

  16. I really like the new layout. We all miss the old Hockenheim, but, come on… such track is not up to F1 standars in any way!

    Races in the new circuit have been pretty good, and in comparision with other tracks (Barsa comes to my mind), this one is seriously very good.

  17. I utterly adored the old circuit, it was even fun to play on video games, it had something eery, something special about it, you always wondered when the cars entered the forest if they would return again.

    I must say, however, that the design of the new one may look boring, but as you see from the amount of videos of youtube, it does provide an incredible amount of overtaking.

    Tight hairpin after a long straight, potential to double back and be side-by-side into the right-hand kink, then another tight corner. Great sequence of corners, great action.

    So the history and emotion of Hockenheim may be gone, but the new one does provide entertainment. Its probably kept it on the calendar too, much more money coming in is handy when you have a greedy little grey man deciding how much you need to pay…

    1. Electrolite
      22nd July 2010, 18:05

      Ha. great comment!

  18. I think this might be partly a case of rose tinted glasses looking back on the past. It was a shame that they lost the old track, but the races were not always the most captivating to watch on tv.

    We still have Monza to hold onto and cherish, so lets just make sure we can maintain that as a great high speed track.

  19. I much preferred the old circuit. I find the new one generic and a tad boring, but rain this weekend may go some way to hopefully spice things up…

  20. Old Hock – amazing, unique super track.
    New Hock – lame.

  21. Does Bernie really think that a circuit full of Tilkedromes is the future of his sport?

    Has he even thought about it at all? Or does he think everyone will always tune in no matter what, because “it’s F1”?

    1. If that future makes bernie a lot of money, then yes.

      1. He makes the biggest money through convincing emerging economies that having an F1 race will “put them on the map”. He hasn’t made himself, or the sport, a profit, from neutering Hockenheim, or any similar neutering of the sport in Europe.

        It cost a ton of money to make the renovations at Hockenheim, and now they can only afford to have the race once every 2 years because the crowds aren’t enough to fill the grandstands he viewed as more important than the track itself.

        If Bernie keeps gutting the heart of the sport and turning the core fanbase away, he will have nothing left when he eventually runs out of suckers in emerging countries.

  22. There’s a tendency to look at the old track through rose tinted glasses. Yes, it was a unique challenge for the drivers, but as a spectacle it wasn’t all that great. Overtaking moves were often simple slipstreaming manoevers and none of the chicanes were anything special – the only decent part of the forest section was the pre-chicane Ostkurve.

    The new track is much better, very good for overtaking and it still has all of the best corners. It’s fantastic watching onboards through the stadium section, it’s so narrow, bumpy and fast with plenty of camber changes, a wonderful piece of tarmac. It still has the Nordkurve as well.

    The only thing the new track loses on is character, but as with any track that takes years to accumulate and I suspect that in years to come the new layout will be quite fondly looked upon in context of other tracks on the calendar at the moment. It’s a terrible shame that they’ve simply planted over the old race track though, talk about covering up history.

    1. yeah, that’s honestly my biggest beef. Seems like such a waste and a saddening sight. All that’s left now of it are photos and footage.

  23. Its Hammer time
    22nd July 2010, 15:30

    We remember the old Hockeheim fondly because of the awe of the high speed & compromised set-up for the long straights and tight complex. However, I never saw there a race as action packed and exciting as watching Hamilton there in 2008. That was Mclaren vs Ferrari, evenly matched, Giant-fighting toe to toe which we rarely see these days because performance differencials are so marginal on the current cars! (I still have the recording on the sky plus box)

    Tilke has made some truely terrible tracks make no mistake but new Hock is a stonker!

    1. Sorry dude, but that’s the worst gravatar I’ve ever seen (totally meant in gest by the way)

      Why is it that Hamilton fan boys are willing to have him as their gravatars but you don’t see Alonso/Schumacher/Vettel/Webber e.t.c. fans having their faces as gravatars…..

  24. Hi Keith – the circuit maps won’t load (Mac 10.5); (anyone else?) instead I see:

    “This webpage is not available.

    The webpage at might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.

    More information on this error
    Below is the original error message

    Error 324 (net::ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE): Unknown error.”

    1. I’m having problems on it on a PC too

  25. I watched the race in 1996 and was right at the first turn. As a Spectator at the race…. It doesnt make a difference now. But back then watching it on TV…. lot’s of overtaking an all straights. But It took sometimes nearly two minutes for a car to come back from it’s lap.

    I have to say I miss the old track and the old Prices too. Full weekend for maybe 130Euros on The start finish straight, full view of pit and first turn into the woods….

  26. I think the biggest disappointment to me is that they destroyed the old track. The fact that it’s all gone and slowly turning back into forest is disappointing. I don’t know why they didn’t simply keep it for other series to run on.

    The new one IS better for overtaking, but as most have said: it’s generic and now indistinguishable from other circuits. Variety is the spice of life and I think in spite of it’s downfalls (the huge length, the boring straight-chicane style, being unable to see much of the circuit), it did bring something unique and we only now understand the value of that in hindsight.

  27. I miss the 220mph dash through the forests. Don’t think cars even get over 200 MPH much these days.

    1. Totally agree, I was devastated when the V10s were dropped for V8s, I wanted the cars to eventually hit 500 km/h!! :-)

  28. I think there was something terribly evocative about the cars screaming at long at full chat into the narrow green walls of the forest. It’s a race I always looked forward to, and it was unique on the calendar for Rizla-thin aero, cooling, and the engines running at full-throttle for so long.

  29. Well, they had to change it. But the changes have been hit-and-miss.

    I like the new circuit up to the hairpin, but then the new infield section is just plain and boring. What they should have done was leave the track screaming down to the old stadium section and make the entry tighter, creating more overtaking opportunities.. It would have also forced the teams to continue to compromise on the downforce/drag balance the old circuit had.

  30. Whilst the new track certainly lacks the character of the old one, and does look wrong on the satellite maps; sitting in the grooves of the old track, like a child in its father’s shoes, it is probably much better suited to the cars of today and has undeniably provided some decent racing. I was driving the circuit on rfactor just now, and was enjoying myself just as much as on the old version, which rather surprised me.

    It was always exciting to see the V10’s and V12’s screaming down the straights at over 200mph, but in today’s V8’s, that particular spectacle would be rather lessened and it would leave the cars out of sight of spectators for an even longer time than in the past. Also, the potential for the unique looking ultra-low downforce aero kit has been lessened nowadays, as even on low downforce tracks, they seem to run much steeper wings than before, so the new track is probably the right one for the moment.

    However, I do agree with the other comments, that it is such a shame that they pulled up the old circuit, they should have left it, either to come back to if the excessive POWER of yore ever returns, or to moulder as a relic, like the banking at Monza.

  31. Bartholomew
    22nd July 2010, 17:09

    They should build the original Hockenheimring in Texas.
    Suzie will give out the money for a good one like that.

  32. Heres what i think of the old hock track- It was more fun to watch than the new track as cars had even more oppertunities to push their engins hard

    New hok- pretty lame to be honest

    CMon Adrian Sutil!!!

  33. In my opinion, every generation has its own taste of what is a good race-track. It is similar to how every alumnus who visits my college campus says, “It is not the same anymore”. There is a certain nostalgia, romanticism associated for the viewers who started following F1 when the old Hockenheim was being used. Which gives rise to the rose tinted glasses through which they view the old track.

    I started following F1 only in 2002, and unfortunately, I haven’t seen any race on the old circuit.

    But I do foresee being in the shoes of the old viewers in the foreseeable future. If the day comes when the oh-so-boring Turn 1 in Shanghai – where Michael Schumacher made a breath-taking pass on Fisichella to gain his last win in Formula 1 – were reprofiled, I would be the one sad to see the corner go, but I am sure many of the new generation of F1 followers won’t be sad to see the back of the corner.

    If the penultimate turn at Interlagos – where Hamilton passed Glock and made one lakh Brazilian hearts stop – were changed, it will be the saddest day of Formula One for me.

    The notions of History, Nostalgia, Romanticism differ from generation to generation. And each generation must be allowed to build a tradition, a collection of memories, a ‘history’ of its own.

    Here’s to a ‘historic’ German GP 2010!! :-)

  34. I miss the old layout: F1 at 350kph through the forest was something outstanding.

    While making the new track, they could have kept the trees. And the “Mercedes Arena” corners (after the hairpin) should not exist: we should go straight into the stadium in order to keep the spirit of the old track.

    I agree with Ron Dennis and JP Montoya… Another track Tilke has killed :(

  35. I guess that the main thing that I have against the new layout is the part right before you enter the stadium section… it seams so “not flowing” and artificial with strange corners! Would like to have the old one back, or at least parts of it! It was 3 long straights, why not keep 2 of them and change the 3rd one to something with more corners!?

  36. There were some solid reasons for building the new track and layout as it’s being used today, but I agree with those who are saying the old circuit had a unique character. For the drivers, navigating the motodrome with not as much downforce as they’d have liked (because setup had to be amended because of the long straights) was a challenge – and nobody could afford to get bored on the top speed parts, because nailing the braking points and turning the car through the chicanes was essential. The old circuit also presented a challenge for engine manufacturers, as there was a lot of room on the circuit to show performance differentials between different engines.

    One has to accept the change, though, I think, as obviously, the old parts of the circuit have been demolished, forest being planted in place. There’s nothing left of what once was out there.

  37. It’s not surprising to hear that some drivers like it too. I used to drive in the “F1 challenge ’99-’02” a lot(very realistic physic model, really gives you idea about driving a F1 car on limit…). I like the new layout of Hockenheim in that sim a lot, felt it indeed quite flowing too, one of my favorites. So I can imagine how much fun the Schumachers had racing on the real one.

    BTW, I don’t think Tilke should be blame for killing the old track’s character, if they already decided to shorten the track, there’s no way anyone could keep the “spirit” of it.

    And I’ll be there this weekend! :-)

  38. It’s a crying shame that so the old track has been lost, but it is one that had to be made. It makes sense to increase capacity to increase revenue.

    I used to love racing at Hockenheim and Monza on Formula 1 Championship Edition for the Playstation (released 1995, I think), as well as later versions of the game up until the new track layout.

    As far as track’s go, the new layout isnt bad, but it isnt the same. Imagine if someone butchered Spa down (again!)? Would it be the same track?

  39. I remember reading Bernie saying that hockenheim was being redesigned because it was not up to the F1 standars

    And I remember myself thinking just a second after “F1 standars… you mean boring”?

    and I hoped nobody let Tilke (or Bernie’s next henchman) get near Suzuka, Spa and Monza (too late for Spa)

    1. Ha ha yes I recall at the time reading things about “satisfying FIA standards” or something similarly ominous. I remember thinking of the Mulsanne chicanes at Le Mans and how they were put there because of “FIA standards” and fearing the worse.

  40. The ‘-ised’ word I’d use in describing newer Hockenheim is Rationalised. It makes lots of sense to make the area of the track much smaller, to make it easier to manage and marshall etc. It makes sense to give fans more laps and try to fit in more seats. But if you overdesign things, especially in landscaping, then all the interesting little idiosyncrasies get ironed out. I think Hockenheim would’ve been fine if they’d spend a few euros building a link road between the first and third chicane. Even if it had been dead straight with two 90 degree corners at each end and a couple of escape roads it would’ve had it’s only charm. Sadly ‘charm’ and ‘character’ aren’t often heard around modern F1 tracks.

  41. – correction, ‘some charm’ is what I meant to say…

  42. It really is disappointing to lose the old Hockenheim circuit; but most old circuits do recieve renovations. However, Hockenheim’s was a little too much in remodeling terms; it is now only Hockenheim in name. It lacks the excitement of the older circuit. Tilke’s circuits in general are very repetitive, and lack the speed of older circuits like Monza.
    It’s all about the money, not necessarily speed in Formula 1 these days, and this renovation is a good example. I don’t think the renovation had much to do with safety; that is an excuse for justification of the renovation. If safety was more of an issue than revenue, the renovation would have happened before 2002.

  43. What I dont understand is why they ripped up the old circuit they could have still used it for racing.

    That would be like ripping up the Nordschleife just becase they built a new circuit.

    Why would they choose to destroy history?

  44. bernie and hermann tilke wont be satisfied until theres water jumps and loops in these circuits.

    Hermann tilke has been the worst thing to happen to f1 ever.

    everyone of his tracks sucks especially valencia and singapore. SIngapore only gets by because its a night race and everyone hates valencia.

  45. The track had its place as a unique test, much as Le Mans and Daytona have their unique place in sportscars. Although Keith suggests that it was a hastily built, poorly conceived, morally insufficient replacement for the Nordschleife, it made its own name. And it thus did not deserve to be ripped up. The fact that J. Clark’s memorial at the first chicane is now abandoned forever to the forest, instead of alongside a vibrant historic track and annually blessed with the supernatural screams of F1 engines, is an unforgiveable heresy.

    1. Morally insufficient? Hardly, I was just saying people tend to look back on it with rose-tinted glasses.

      1. Yes, but there is a huge element of the increasing homogenisation of F1 being litterally illustrated by the changes to the Hockenheimring. The latest iteration does produce good racing, but Id swap it for the pre 2002 version in a heartbeat, and I can only remember the last couple of grands prix on it.

        Surely F1 was as much about the variation in the circuits raceed as the variations between the competing cars, I mean next season ther is going to be a mandatory weight distribution! Where is the variation?

  46. Sean Newman
    22nd July 2010, 22:11

    The old track wasn’t great as a circuit but it was worth it’s place on the calendar because it was such a test for the drivers. Getting the chicanes just right and skating around the stadium on low downforce meant it was quite unique. The only down sides were it wasn’t the safest and it was a bit narrow.

    Incidentally during the turbo days I think the (non turbo) Tyrrell team tried something a bit drastic during practice to help them on the straights. Didn’t they try front wheels on the back? Yes thats right I did say front wheels on the back…anyone remember this?

  47. The old circuit was also the biggest car killer of the season, you never knew who was going to win right up until the last corner as breakdowns in the stadium section were so common. I loved it. As Montoya said the new circuit is just like so many other places, ok but nothing special.

  48. HewisLamilton
    22nd July 2010, 23:18

    Two things come to mind when thinking of the old layout at Hockenheim.
    First, the drafting and passing that could be achieved on the straights and into the chicanes.
    Second, which has nothing to do with the layout, is the fight from 1982, Piquet vs. Salazar. Funny stuff, fighting with the helmet on.

    1. Benson Jutton
      22nd July 2010, 23:56

      I loved the old track, can`t stand the new one. And I am not just looking back through rose tinted specs, I just seem to remember it was always one of the most entertaining races of the year. It was something different. Now it is like all Tilke`s tracks, mediocre. I am just thankful that they kept him away from Silverstone.

  49. MouseNightshirt
    23rd July 2010, 0:09

    My first exposure was in 1997 and man I loved that track with a passion back then.

    I vaguely remember the review for F1 ’97 (still one of the best F1 games produced to date in my opinion) in the Official UK Playstation Magazine (it got a 9/10) mentioning Hockenheim specifically. I remember something about them actually looking at footage of the races and then looking in game and finding the trees by the side of the track were actually in the right place. Mental!

  50. I saw the race when Barrichello won it I guess in 2000 or 2001, I totally agree with Montoya about what he said in the last paragraph. It’s bad that we are loosing the older & classic tracks from the calender which are been replace by Tilke boring tracks.

  51. A bit off topic maybe but I would love to see a Nordschleife exhibition race on the calendar. What a track!

  52. The old track surely has more character to racing romantics.
    The forested area is really wonderful as it holds suspense to as which driver made it and those whose sought of went off the track or suffered technical failures.

    There is an air of mystique of drivers not appearing for the next lap.
    Could they have been consumed by some monster, lol.

    Tilke should be designing tracks for road safety tests not race tracks!

  53. I think it’s a shame that they have just let the forrest reclaim the old layout.

  54. Imagine if they did the same thing at Spa – made it a smaller stadium-style track rather than the epic, tree lined course we have now. How disapponted we would be then!

  55. The older circuit had character and an evocative image. It had a purpose and to win there was something special. As JPM pointed out zero downforce in the stadium section would seriously test you after blasting through the forest (what an image that must have been for the drivers!).

    Along came Tilke and castrated it. I’m sorry but most animals once tamed/castrated don’t do well and the same is with the Green Beast of Hockenheim which is now more like the Green Frog of Hockenheim

  56. I certainly prefer the old one. I’ll never forget the 2000 German Grand Prix, when everything imaginable (and quite a few things beyond imagination) happened and Rubens Barrichello won his F1 race from 18th on the grid!

    I know, not every year was like that, but the new track, as many of you said, looks like another Tilke-track. Uninspiring.

    Among all the changed tracks I can remember, Interlagos is the only one where the new circuit preserved most of the magic from the old days… I know purists would say 1970’s Interlagos was the best racetrack in the world, but the 1990’s Interlagos is still too damn good!

  57. I did`nt realise the old track had gone, I just assumed it was still there just as the old parts of other circuits are. I am devastated. Obviously down to the treehugggers, giving something back to the forest because they had to flatten more trees to make the new bit. Or was it Bernie or Tilke`s idea, so that when people realized they had ruined another track there could be no question of returning to the old layout. And what did the changes have to do with increasing seating capacity, as the stadium section appears unchanged ?
    What a shame, what a waste. Well done Bernie, thanks a lot.

  58. Lewis Cotton
    28th May 2013, 22:15

    Why could they not extend the straight after the first corner until the Clark Chicane so it goes through the forested section? Then the cars go very fast and there are good overtaking opportunities. Then, like on the current track, make a long left-hander (Parabolika)/ straight that lasts until it reaches the other side of the track. Then put in the hairpin like the one on the current track. Then remove the silly Senna Chicane and the kink on the current straight and make it last until the stadium section.

  59. Ayrton Senna would roll in his grave if he knew they destroyed one of the greatest tracks of all time…..

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