1986 German Grand Prix
- Sunday, July 27, 1986
- Grosser Preis von Deutschland
- F1 World Championship
The Grosser Preis von Deutschland used to be held on the majestic 14 mile Nürburgring. Circumstances and people changed all that and we had the “Kleiner Preis von Deutschland ” on the flat but fast Hockenheimring. Then the Germans built the New Nürburgring and we all fell about laughing, until the German Grand Prix was held there last year, whereupon we all crept away very depressed. This year the German Grand Prix was back at the Hockenheimring and we had mixed emotions, but before setting off for Germany I felt that this could be a fun weekend.
The media were prattling on about Nigel Mansell equalling some achievement of Jim Clark, and scoring 5 wins out of 6 starts, or something, but the real gem which seemed to set the scene came in a Press handout issued by Creative Planners of Chertsey in Surrey, on behalf of Marlboro Cigarettes. I quote: “Based around a tight infield bowl originally built to accommodate political rallies in the 1930s, Hockenheim features two long fast straights broken by two chicanes designed to restrict the high-speed slipstreaming which used to be a feature of the circuit”.
Now I first went to the Hockenheimring in 1950 to race motorcycles and I do not recall seeing the bowl that Creative Planners talk about, and when I was there in 1955 on test with the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR sports car I still did not see this bowl that used to accommodate political rallies in the 1930s. However, when I went to the Hockenheimring in 1966 for the ADAC 500 Kilometre sports car race, the vast concrete bowl (or stadium) was just being finished, paid for with the compensation money from the new German Autobahn which sliced across the old egg shaped Hockenheimring. In 1950, and subsequent years, I went to race motorcycles at the town of Nürnberg, or Nuremberg as we call it in English, and this was on the opposite side of Germany, near the Eastern border. Here indeed we raced through a vast stadium that had been built in the 1930s by the Third Reich for political rallies, and it was mighty impressive. The circuit was, and still is, called the Norisring as Noris is the old name of Nürnberg. A little learning is indeed a dangerous thing, especially when creative planners get to work with it.
Permanent road course
Riccardo Patrese (Williams FW14-Renault), 1m43.569, 146.928 mph, F1, 1991
First Race1949 Hockenheim F2