Feb.9 (GMM) The future of the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring looks set to race into the courts.
The Rhineland-Palatinate state this week said it intends to cancel the circuit operator's lease, arguing that a bright future is "not possible" with the existing tenants.
Minister Roger Lewentz said he wants to personally take over the negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone about the future of the F1 race.
But according to the SID news agency, the operator Nurburgring Automotive GmbH (NAG) has announced it will fight back, including demanding "substantial amounts" from the government for the wrongful action.
"There is no reason for this extraordinary step," NAG's lawyer is quoted as saying.
The company's spokesman said the situation is crucial to Germany's future on the F1 calendar.
"Already, there are many candidates waiting for a (race) date to be available," NAG spokesman Karl-Heinz Steinkuehler said.
"Without the Nurburgring, Formula One would make probably only a guest appearance every two years in Germany, at the Hockenheimring," he warned.
The minister Lewentz, however, said the government is ready for a fight, despite hoping for "an amicable solution" to the dispute with the operator.
"If not, a lengthy legal dispute cannot be ruled out," he said. "We consider ourselves well prepared."