sport

German GP gets green light

The German Grand Prix will go ahead as planned this season at the Nurburgring.

After months of speculation as to the venue, and even whether the race would take place at all, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed he has now concluded a deal for the July 7 event.

"I treasure the Nurburgring and its history," 82-year old Ecclestone said in a statement.

"In view of its long tradition, I was glad to support choosing the Nurburgring as the venue for the Formula One."

The Nurburgring has endured severe financial difficulties in recent times, at one point narrowly avoiding bankruptcy last year.

The knock-on effect naturally led to a stalling in negotiations, and the prospect it could be switched to Hockenheim, despite the fact it hosted last year's event under the rotational system.

There was even the suggestion from Ecclestone that political in-fighting, as the two circuits come under the auspices of different automobile associations in Germany, was hindering progress.

But despite the vast array of issues, Ecclestone has finally managed to conclude a deal that guarantees 19 races on the calendar.

At present there remains a vacant slot for July 19-21 as Turkey was due to return, but has since fallen by the wayside.

The likes of France, Portugal and Austria have all been mentioned to fill in, but at this stage it seems highly likely there will be no race that weekend.