This Sunday is the German GP being held at Hockenheim, not Nurburgring. Hockenheim was opened in 1939, 15 miles from Heidelberg, and was used for German national car and motorcycle racing. In 1965/6 it was uprated to a design by John Hugenholz because one end was lost when an autobahn was built. The resulting circuit 6.7 km long remained blindingly quick for most of its length, with a slow section in the ‘stadium’ (i.e. grandstand) area, similar in concept to the arena course at Silverstone a fortnight ago.
Hockenheim achieved notoriety in 1968 when, at one of the first major races held at the circuit, Jim Clark was killed in a Formula Two race following presumed tyre failure. His actual death was caused, however, by the fact that his car was able to leave the circuit unimpeded and hit a tree.
While the Nurburgring was being made safe, Hockenheim staged the 1970 German GP with a layout made slower by the construction of three chicanes. It was not a popular choice of venue but, following Lauda’s accident at the Nurburgring in 1976, Hockenheim became the home of the German GP for many years, but these days alternates annually with the ‘new’ Nurburgring.
With Alonso in the Ferrari at the top of the world championship table, Mark Webber second and German hero Vettel third, expect this to be a fiery race. We will be watching in front of the huge screen in Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, next to Nova Park. The race starts at 7 p.m. Thai time, but get there around 6 p.m. for a good seat and join us for some dinner and a couple of drinks before the start. We watch the dedicated F1 channel which has no breaks for adverts during the race.