German Grand Prix - facts and figures 31 Jul 2003
Hockenheim staged its first German Grand Prix on August 2nd 1970 when Jochen Rindt took victory for Lotus. Since 1977 the circuit has hosted the race every year, the sole exception being 1985 when Michele Alboreto won for Ferrari at the Nurburgring.
Hockenheim's history dates back over 70 years. It hosted its inaugural motorbike race in May 1932 on what was then an unsurfaced, triangular track. The circuit was redesigned in 1938 to create the oval-shaped Palatinate Ring, while further modifications in 1957 saw the addition of the Motodrom section.
Hockenheim celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2002 with another new track design. The long forest straights were removed and replaced with new sections in order to accommodate additional spectators. Where cars previously disappeared into the woods, the circuit now takes a sharp right turn (the second corner after the start / finish) into the long, sweeping, high-speed Parabolica. This left turn culminates in a hairpin taken in first gear with the steering wheel at virtually full lock. Following this hairpin, a right-left-right combination takes you back to the familiar territory of the Motodrom stadium section.
The two most successful Formula One drivers at Hockenheim have both been Brazilian. Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna each took three German Grand Prix victories at the circuit. Piquet's triumphs came in 1981, 1986 and 1987, while Senna achieved three successive wins between 1988 and 1990.
Should Ferrari win at Hockenheim this weekend they will equal Williams' record of eight Formula One victories at the circuit. McLaren trail their rivals, but can still boast five wins at the historic German circuit.
Five drivers have completed the clean sweep of pole position, victory and fastest lap in one German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Alain Prost was the first to achieve the feat in 1984, followed by Ayrton Senna (1989), Damon Hill (1996), Gerhard Berger (1997) and Michael Schumacher (2002).
Hockenheim will forever be remembered as the circuit that claimed the life of double world champion Jim Clark. The Scottish driver was competing in a Formula 2 race there on April 7th 1968 when his Lotus went off the road and into a tree. Clark never won a German Grand Prix at the circuit, though he did triumph in the event at the Nurburgring in 1965.