Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the Nordschleife should not be ‘destroyed’ by making it “Formula 1 compatible”.
The Nurburgring Nordschleife is an iconic 12.9-mile circuit that staged the Formula 1 German Grand Prix in the 60s and 70s. The dangerous circuit, nicknamed “The Green Hell”, is the site of Niki Lauda’s infamous crash in 1976 that left him badly burned and fighting for his life.
There have been a lot of discussions about the prospects of the track returning to the Formula 1 calendar, but it would require heavy modifications.
Toto Wolff has always expressed his love for the Nordschleife. In 2009 he attempted to break the track record there, but ended up crashing badly and suffering a concussion. The Austrian believes the track should not be “destroyed” to make it “Formula 1 compatible”.
“I love the Nordschleife, I love the Nurburgring and I love the Eifel,” Wolff told Beyond the Grid podcast.
“Actually, I’m not allowed to say that – my wife says ‘you like the Nordschleife and you love me’. But I love it anyway!
“So…no chance. I think it is much too dangerous like it is today. It has no run-off areas, it has so many bumps and jumps that a Formula 1 car would never drive there safely at speed.
“If you touched the Nordschleife to make it Formula 1 compatible, you would destroy the whole DNA of the track.
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“Let’s just leave it like it is. It’s a thing from the past, GT cars race there and that is pretty dangerous. I think we should go out there and enjoy a lap in a normal car or a sportscar. But please, let’s not destroy the last iconic racetrack.”
“You would need to repave the whole thing and take the crests and compressions away because a modern Formula 1 car cannot go over a bump at 350kph – it would just fly away.
“There are 200-odd corners, you would need to create run-off areas because it’s so fast. It’s just completely unrealistic.
“If you make it a Formula 1 track with run-off areas, you destroy the whole thing. That is the appeal of the Nordschleife, that it’s dangerous and a relic of the past.
“If you want to go fast there, you need to be on the case and everyone who races there at serious speeds will come back and tell you that you are not angst-free there.
“Everyone who has participated in the 24-hour race will tell you it is freaking scary in the night, in the rain, in the fog with the pedal pushed to the floor, and this is what makes the race,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.