Germany’s famed Nurburgring saved from insolvency, possible extinction

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The future of Germany’s iconic Nurburgring race track has apparently gone from cloudy at best to very sunny.

According to MotorAuthority.com, the track has been sold to German automotive manufacturer Capricorn, thus saving the legendary 16-turn, 5.148 kilometer/3.199 mile from potentially going out of business or even being scrapped and having its massive land area developed.

Track officials had declared the facility insolvent in 2012, but it continued to operate and host major events including Formula One’s German Grand Prix.

Capricorn is no stranger to the facility, according to Spiegel Online, with approximately 100 of its 350 total employees working in a factory on the grounds to produce pistons, camshafts, crankshafts and a variety of other engine parts.

Now that it owns the track, Capricorn is expected to further expand its production footprint, including a new technology center being planned.

Nicknamed “Green Hell” by F1 great Jackie Stewart, Nurburgring’s sale must still be approved by European Union regulators, but that would appear to be a mere formality, given the track had few other suitors to rescue it from its nearly two-year-old insolvency.

F1 president Bernie Ecclestone had made an offer for the track in mid-January, but Capricorn’s offer was reportedly significantly larger.

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F1 2017 driver review: Nico Hulkenberg

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Nico Hulkenberg

Team: Renault
Car No.: 27
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 43
Championship Position: 10th

Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.

With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.

Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.

When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.

But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.

Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.

Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.