Need to Know: 2020 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring
The first of three classic circuits making a surprise return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2020, the Nürburgring will host the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix on 9-11 October.
Where is the Nürburgring and how long has it been around?
The legendary Nürburgring is located in western Germany, close to the borders with Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands. The circuit was built around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel Mountains and first hosted the German Grand Prix in 1927. The first races were held on a 28km variation of the circuit known as the Nürburgring Gesamtstrecke. This was a longer version of the 22km Nordschleife "North Loop" track that hosted Formula 1 in the early years of the modern World Championship. Multiple race winners on the Nordschleife, which had an incredibly 160 turns, included Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Tony Brooks, Jacky Ickx and Sir Jackie Stewart.
Why did Formula 1 stop racing on the Nordschleife layout of the Nürburgring?
Sir Jackie Stewart, who won twice at the circuit he nicknamed “The Green Hell,” shared his memories of the Nordschleife with us recently on Instagram Live: “Nürburgring is the greatest racetrack in the world and I won there quite often in Formula 2 and Formula 1. But it was ridiculous. No runoff areas, not enough firefighters or marshals. There would be crashed cars from a previous touring car race parked on the side of the track when the Formula 1 race was on. It was crazy.” The last Formula 1 race to take place on the Nordschleife was the 14-lap 1976 German Grand Prix, which was won by James Hunt. The race is best remembered for the fiery accident suffered by Niki Lauda, who was lucky to escape with his life. It was the final nail in the coffin for the Nordschleife, which was simply too long and too difficult to make safe for the current generation of Formula 1 cars. The Nordschleife layout of the circuit has not held a Formula 1 race since, though it remains in use for track days and also hosts a popular annual 24-hour sportscar race.
When did Formula 1 last race at the Nürburgring?
All Formula 1 races at the Nürburgring since 1984 have been held on the GP-Strecke circuit, which currently measures 5.148km and has 15 turns. The Nürburgring has been absent from the Formula 1 calendar since 2013, when it last staged the German Grand Prix as part of a short-lived race sharing agreement with the Hockenheimring. The circuit was also the host of the European Grand Prix on twelve occasions between 1984 and 2007, with Michael Schumacher taking victory on home soil five times. In another quirk of history (for which 2020 will also be remembered), the Formula 1 races at the Nürburgring in 1997 and 1998 were known as the Luxembourg Grand Prix. The unusual name was chosen as the German Grand Prix was already contracted to the Hockenheimring and the European Grand Prix title was being used by the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Which current drivers have raced at the Nürburgring?
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are the only current drivers to have taken a Formula 1 victory at the Nürburgring. Hamilton won the German Grand Prix in 2011 and Vettel won the same event in 2013. It was Vettel’s only Formula 1 victory to date on home soil and he shared the podium with Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean, who were both driving for Lotus at the time. The only other current drivers to have taken part in the last Formula 1 race at the Nürburgring are Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Pérez and Valtteri Bottas.
Will fans be in attendance at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix?
Yes, up to 20,000 fans will be able to attend the upcoming race at the Nürburgring. Three categories of grandstand tickets are available, which can be purchased from Grand Prix Events. Due to operational constraints and travel restrictions, F1 Experiences will not be offering Official Ticket Packages for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.
A record-breaking weekend at the Nürburgring?
Kimi Räikkönen will start his 323rd race at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, overtaking Rubens Barichello as the driver with the most Formula 1 starts of all time. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Formula 1 victories if he can win for a second time at the Nürburgring. Hamilton will be joined on track during practice by Michael’s son Mick Schumacher, who will be making his Formula 1 debut for Alfa Romeo alongside fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott in the Haas.