Germany's Hockenheim race circuit has been under development recently and Hermann Tilke, the architect in charge of the new design, says the schedule is running to plan. Currently 6.8km, the circuit has hosted the German Grand Prix on and off...
Germany's Hockenheim race circuit has been under development recently and Hermann Tilke, the architect in charge of the new design, says the schedule is running to plan. Currently 6.8km, the circuit has hosted the German Grand Prix on and off since 1970 and is to be shortened to 4.8km with a more technical layout. Famed for its long straights and excursions into the forests, Hockenheim came under criticism by F1 chiefs and organisers commissioned Tilke for the redesign.
"In Hockenheim everything is going according to our plans,' Tilke said. "The excavators are working and we are making good progress, which we have to do. The time you lose at the beginning (due to a lengthy council approval process) can never be made up." He added that the old circuit layout could still be used for this year's German GP should the work encounter any delays: "Should something go wrong, for the next three and a half weeks we could still put the brakes on and use the old track layout in July. But of course that's not the target."
Tilke is also working on the intended Russian Grand Prix circuit on Nagatino Island, south of Moscow -- Arrows' boss Tom Walkinshaw's TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) is acting as design and production consultant -- but the progress there is not as favourable as with Hockenheim. "The construction work was never begun," Tilke stated. "So far we only made a preliminary draft, since then everything has been quiet. It could start any day or never. I am not too sure about where the problems are. I think there might be political problems."
The provisional target for a Russian race was 2003 but it's looking unlikely. Bernie Ecclestone has already signed an agreement with Russian officials to enable them to host a GP as soon as the circuit is ready but with the work not even started, a Russian race could be a long way off.