German GP “dead at the moment”, won’t be replaced

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Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that the German Grand Prix will not be replaced on the calendar if it fails to go ahead in 2015.

The race had been due to be held at the Nurburgring as part of the circuit’s deal to alternate hosting the event with Hockenheim.

However, Ecclestone (pictured) had planned to take the race away from the Nurburgring due to its financial difficulties, but officials at Hockenheim claim that they are not prepared to play host for a second year in a row.

A deadline for a decision has now passed without any firm announcement from either circuit or the sport, and although Ecclestone did not completely write off the race’s chances, he did admit that it will not go ahead as things stand.

“The German Grand Prix is dead at the moment,” Ecclestone told The Independent. “It won’t get replaced if it doesn’t happen.

“As with any race, if it is cancelled it is cancelled. There’s not much we can do.”

Should the race fail to be saved, the 2015 calendar would fall back down to 19 races. With the addition of the Mexican Grand Prix in November, this year’s schedule had been set to equal the record for the most number of events in a season at 20.

The absence of the German Grand Prix would also ease some of the congestion in the calendar over the summer. It is currently scheduled as a back-to-back with the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, and should it be cancelled, we would be left with just a single race in a seven-week period between the British and Belgian Grands Prix.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).