PRIXVIEW – (German) Eifel Grand Prix

Testing & Race Reports

Round twelve of the season sees Formula One return to the Nürburgring for the first time since 2013 for the Eifel Grand Prix. The Nürburgring becomes the first circuit in F1 history to host a Formula One championship race under a fourth different title, previously German, European and Luxembourg.

The reason why despite Germany holding one race this is not being called ‘German Grand Prix’ is that the states government is paying all the costs to put on this one-off race. The Nürburgring held its first Grand Prix in 1927 and has seen many different layouts but most notable the Nordschleife.

The Nordschleife used from 1931 until 1976, on and off, is the second deadliest circuit in the history of Formula One, between 1954-1969 five drivers were killed during Grand Prix weekends. It has the nickname ‘The Green Hell’ called by Sir Jackie Stewart, running for 17.5 miles through the Eifel Mountains.

The old circuit is the deadliest in the history of the sport, excluding Indianapolis, it has seen five deaths on the Nordschleife as well as the accident which would define the 1976 championship. Niki Lauda crashed at the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Lauda was involved in an accident where his Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames, and made contact with Brett Lunger’s Surtees-Ford car.

Lauda remarkably against all odds would return to racing six weeks later at Monza, creating an intense fight with James Hunt going all the way to Fuji. But Lauda retired in the torrential rain and Lauda retired after two laps. He later said that he felt it was unsafe to continue under these conditions, especially since his eyes were watering excessively because of his fire-damaged tear ducts and inability to blink.

The modern GP circuit was built in the 1980s and opened in 1984, although it retains the challenges of the Nordschleife, many consider the three-mile circuit a mere shadow of its big brother. This came after an attempted boycott by the GPDA of the circuit during the 1970s, this couple with broadcasting and the race being move to Hockenheim in 1977.

The circuit should provide some opportunities for overtaking, but from memory, it’s a circuit which rewards you attacking the corners and the final chicane can be tricky. But as we have seen this season the strategy and qualifying can throw up some drama-filled races, the circuit

The first race at the first incarnation of the GP-Strecke was in 1985, the circuit saw Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Ailan Prost go fighting for victory. the circuit is tight through the first sector and followed by a high-speed second sector, with a tight final sector. This may cause some difficulties when it comes to following other cars, and overtaking.

The Efiel Mountains will be cooler and at a higher chance of rain than in July when the Grand Prix has been held in the last decade. This will increase the chance of wet weather, and the climatic conditions means its likely

The 2007 Grand Prix of Europe, was one of the most dramatic races in recent history, Markus Winkelhock made a key decision to pit on the formation lap before the rain fell. On the opening several drivers lost control causing a collision, the race was red-flagged after Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi did not take the restart as they all aquaplaned off the track at Yokohama-S.

Sebastian Vettel took victory from pole position at the last race at the Nürburgring in 2013, after getting past pole-sitter Hamilton at the start of the race. By the end of the race, Vettel was forced to fend of Raikkonen in the closing stages to secure his thirtieth career win, Rosberg, struggling to keep his Mercedes on the pace, finished ninth at his home race while Nico Hülkenberg took the final point for Sauber.

Facts and figures

Round 12
Race Formula 1 Aramco Grosser Pries von Eifel 2020
Venue 2002 GP-Strecke, Nürburgring, Nürburg, Ahrweiler, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Circuit Length 5.148km (3.199mi)
Laps 60
Race Distance 308.617km (191.919mi)
Lap Record 01:29.468 (Germany Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2004, 2004, Formula One)
Most wins drivers * Rudolf Caracciola (6)
Most wins manufacture * Ferrari (10)

*Across German, European & Luxemburg held at the Nürburgring, Caracciola’s includes a shared win with Christian Werner.

Fast facts

  • The Nürburgring becomes the first circuit in the world to host four different world championship Grand Prix, having previously been titled the German, European and Luxembourg.
  • Since 2000-01, no driver has won back to back races at the Nürburgring, it looks likely that will remain the case this year. The last six races have all seen different winners with no driver winning back to back.
  • The Nürburgring was built to alleviate unemployment in the Eifel region of northwest Germany. From 1925 to 1927, some 25,000 persons were hired to construct the racetrack.
  • At the 1935 Grand Prix, the Nazi regime was so confident that Mercedes would win they only brought the German national anthem. So when Tazio Nuvolari of Italy won the race for Alfa Romeo, he had been confident enough to bring along the Italian anthem himself.
  • The legend of the Silver Arrows started here when in 1934 Mercedes peeled off paint from the cars to give reveal their sleek, silver metal finish. Mercedes went on to win that race and to this day, Mercedes cars have always worn a silver finish, although now it is painted on as opposed to just being exposed bare metal.

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Friday

P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30

Saturday

P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 14:10 13:10

What happened in 2013?

Sebastian Vettel took victory as Lewis Hamilton’s fight against the Red Bull’s and Lotus’s faded. Kimi Raikkonen driving for Lotus was having a strong season along with teammate Romain Grosjean. The team used team orders to try and go after Vettel with five laps to go.

Hamilton was also under pressure from Jenson Button, the closing stage action was caused by the safety car and the front runners made their final pit stops. The Finn re-joined 2.3 seconds behind Grosjean, who was 1.5secs behind Vettel, with Alonso a further 4.4secs behind.

Mercedes appeared to struggle with tyre wear, but Hamilton fought back from his final stop to pass Button in a superb move around the outside of Turn Two on the final lap.

Race Result – 1) S. Vettel, Red Bull – Renault, 01:41:14.711, 2) K. Raikkonen, Lotus – Mercedes, +1.008, 3) R. Grosjean, Lotus – Mercedes, +5.830

What to watch for?

As in Sochi, the focus again will be on Lewis Hamilton’s second attempt to equal Michael Schumacher’s ninety-one wins. The Nürburgring feels like the right place to do that, as it’s a circuit which suits high speed and downforce. Sochi was a difficult weekend for Hamilton, and what we normally see is he come back stronger at the next race.

This is Mercedes second home Grand Prix after Silverstone, in the turbo-hybrid era they have won three of the four races in Germany. However, last years race at Hockenheim was the team’s worst race with Hamilton losing the lead of the race and Valtteri Bottas crashing out.

Red Bull is likely to be Mercedes main challengers, but this is a circuit which needs speed and downforce. Red Bull need to I feel hope for more mistakes from Mercedes if they are to challenge for victory, I think could be at a disadvantage given the type of circuit this is.

Also, the last few races have been a bit unpredictable, have seen accidents in the midfield as they been racing closely. The battle there will be between McLaren, Racing Point and Renault, these teams are fighting ahead of Ferrari. I think Racing Point could be leading, given the closeness to Mercedes.

Its been a while since we have seen running at the Nürburgring I expect that Friday practice will be busy, drivers will have very different characteristics to the last race in 2013. We are in autumn and in the mountains, the cooler conditions means tyre warm-up could be an issue, Mercedes as well could be in a better position here to fight for victory.

We need to remember that while the Nürburgring isn’t a new circuit it’s a place where we haven’t been for six seasons, some drivers have never driven here in an F1 car. Also, the conditions are very different to July, I think there will be some learning which will need to be done given the time of year we are coming to the circuit when it’s autumn.

2011 vs 2013 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2013

01:31.754 01:30.416 01:29.517 01:30.547 01:29.825 01:29.398 01:41:14.711 01:33.468

Diff

-0.140 -1.295 -1.399 -1.451 -1.173 -0.681 -04:16.423 -0.834

2011

01:31.894 01:31.711 01:30.916 01:31.826 01:30.998 01:30.079 01:37:30.334 01:34.302

Tyres

White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.