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Emmcee

Would You Prefer The Old Hockenheim Back?

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I was just thinking how these cars with drs and kers would go on the old hockenheim circuit, I think they would go freakin quick as, and would allow for heaps of slipstreaming.

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Yeah I know,it's even boring when you play it on a game.

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Both the new Nurburgring and the new Hockenheim are devoid of all personality. And both circuits in their former selves were among the best.

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The old Hockenheim was a great track, it was a shame when they butchered it and in my opinion ruined it. I'm not sure whose idea it was but it was a bad one.

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Why did they scrap the long straights anyway? Danger?

Hell yes I miss it, it was unique, and all the new tracks are bit 'samey'. It was one of those old classic tracks with the blasting-into-the-forest experience, now it's pants and the track is too narrow

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They would go quick with the drs and kers aswell. Have two drs point on each long straight.

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If I am not mistaken, they removed the forest section because it was endangering the biome. One of the few instances in which I do not concur with the ecologists.

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If I am not mistaken, they removed the forest section because it was endangering the biome. One of the few instances in which I do not concur with the ecologists.

What's the biome? Seems a ridiculous reason unless it was damaging that particular region (like the surrounding forest), might as well scrap motorsport altogether if we're going to start thinking about the o-zone layer!

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One of those tracks where you might like to see them race there, but you'd hate to see them crash there...

The German Grand Prix has bigger issues to work through than track layout, too. I have no problems whatsoever with the new Hockenheim, to be honest. I understand the sentiment, though.

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What's the biome? Seems a ridiculous reason unless it was damaging that particular region (like the surrounding forest), might as well scrap motorsport altogether if we're going to start thinking about the o-zone layer!

Yes, that is what I mean, the surrounding forest. Pollution and noise was damaging the trees or might harm them. Something like that.

UPDATE: Looking on the interweb I found out that ecology had nothing to do with it. It was because of FIA and Bernie being fed up with safety concerns and lack of spectacle for the public.

Safety was hard to enforce in the forest section, and it was also the place where most overtaking ocurred (in the chicanes after the long straight) so people on the grandstands would have no chance of watching overtakes. Also, people like Martin Brundle said that it was boring because not many cars finished it (that's true, the old Hockenheim was another attrition race with those demaniding long straights)

Somehow I don't buy it. Every one of those points could have been improved, and the fact that it was an attrition race is not something bad, unless you are Martin Brundle. Canada, Monaco, Malaysia...

And even if they didn't want to or couldn't be bothered. Why planting trees and erasing the old section so it can never by used again not even by other categories? Sounds more like a biblical curse than a redesign!

Guess, I am missing something there.

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christ if we're talking 'lack of spectacle' then I could reel off a list of tracks where hardly any action ever occurs. With Bernie 99% of it is money, so my best guess that whatever it was was money related

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It would be awesome with two drs zones on both straights. It was the only circuit where the were flatout for so long. The engine sound was phenomenal.

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The problem is, how do you propose they would have improved safety there? Something happens to one of these cars flying with the DRS open and, sorry, that driver's not racing for a little while...

The thing is, and maybe I'm being oversensitive in light of recent events, but the thing is, drivers still die in race cars, or get seriously injured, in just about everything outside of F1.

It's not that F1 has superior car design, or superior safety regulations related to the car. Nope. It's all about the tracks. We don't see injuries and fatalities in F1 because of the track design. We do see them in other disciplines and it's not usually because the cars are unsafe (at the lowest-entry levels, there are some things that are allowed that are just so, so dumb. But usually, it has to do with tracks). It's that the tracks have too much speed, too close to too many barriers and fences, sometimes at bad angles or even outdated types of barriers. Hockenheim is too fast and all it takes is a small failure.

People hate the seas of run-off, but you just look at the injuries they've had at Indianapolis in the mid-2000s, or the injuries at Montréal (Kubica), or the injuries at Monaco (Button, Pérez), and you see that the tracks where the barriers are closest, and the speeds are very high for the course, are the tracks where you still have that risk of injury. Those NASCAR vehicles are tanks, very safe as cars. But they run super high-speeds, flat-out, right by the barriers and the other cars. So, it's no wonder that even these seemingly indestructible monsters have still allowed for one star driver to miss a few months with a broken back this year, and another to be out with two concussions in a few weeks last year. There was also a broken sternum keeping a driver out for a few months early in 2013, and in 2012, a driver missed considerable time after a huge wreck. Of those five injuries (the two concussions being separate), four occurred on oval tracks greater than 2.0 miles in length (the biggest, fastest tracks NASCAR runs). The car design there is great. These guys have all the latest safety equipment, too. But the tracks are fast and the barriers are near. Quite the spectacle, it is, too see and hear them going flat-out. Not much fun with they crash.

Same goes for something like Indy. These guys aren't backwards fools who are running around in open-faced, leather caps as "helmets." But they drive so fast, so close to the wall, and hit at bad angles, even getting into the fencing (the worst place to go in that kind of car).

Same with Le Mans. Those LMPs aren't exactly unsophisticated. But that track is super high-speed with very little room. It's like Hockenheim. You can almost guarantee a back injury at Le Mans every year. I hate to say that, I really do, but it's true. There's always one driver who gets hurt there during the test days, qualifying days, or the race itself. It's often that way in Indianapolis, too, and the Daytona/Talladega combo yields injuries each year in some of its races, as well. The thing in common? Highest speeds, least space to the barriers.

Maybe there's a way to make Old Hockenheim safe and I'm missing the obvious. I just don't trust it and I'd much rather see them on "boring" circuits (to be honest, I don't regard Hockenheim as a big offender in that category, though it's not spectacular) if the trade-off is driver safety, which I believe it to be. I really would hate for something horrible to happen, but I'd even hate for something "minor." You know, wouldn't it really, really suck if Driver A won the WDC by a few points of Driver B because Driver B missed a race due to injury? I know the rationalizations; I've heard them many times. "That's part of racing." It is. It's part of all sports. People get minor injuries all the time in sports and miss games. But that's just a convenient way to avoid the fact that you take out the romantic language and look at the outcomes and see that this selfish pursuit of ultimate speed isn't really pretty.

You like to think of drivers as these guys who would do anything to win, and somehow, that's appealing, this high level of competition. Write it on paper; it sounds glorious. Then, Regan Smith throws a huge block on the last lap of a NASCAR race, while leading, in the name of "going for the win." A few dozen fans in the grandstands are sent to the hospital after the wreck that block caused. So romantic. Smith, racer that he is, said he'd do the same thing again and again, and failed to say a word of concern for the fans. That's this competition we all gush about on paper. It's an ugly reality.

It's the same thing with IndyCar announcing they want to break the track record, which has stood since 1996. That record is just shy of 237 mph average. They currently qualify around 229 mph average. Well, that 230, it sure sounds great. Fans are buzzing about it. But you look at the last three deaths at IMS, and it's no surprise they came in years when the cars were qualifying over 230. Renna in 2003, Brayton in 1996 (the fastest year), and Marcelo in 1992. All three years had pole speeds over 230. Sure, cars have come along, but that track is no less punishing. The series gets caught up in the romanticism of it all, and it sure isn't going to look the way they envisioned as soon as someone crashes on his or her 237 mph lap.

I'm all for passionate, fast racing on classic circuits, but a few too many times I've been caught up in the romanticization of auto racing. Words don't change that it's a brutal sport, and anything they can do to make it less brutal, I'm all for it.

The racing, the actual racing, is no worse off on these safe circuits. It's a golden age of competition, and it's a golden age of safety. I hope they continue to work to make gains in both of those areas. Going back to an old circuit layout? Not going to be part of that.

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Nice speech! *slow clap*

Just kidding :D

Ok, it would be good if we were talking about Monaco, Singapore or even Spa, circuits where nasty accidents can or may happen. But the old Hockenheim did not have a specially bad record with regards to big shunts. The most common accident was engine failures and cars coasting on the sides. The nastiest ones occurred when cars where collected at the chicanes. Bad, but less common than contact at turns one and two at Montreal, to mention a recent example.

The safety concerns, I guess, were more related to the impossibility of controlling the access in the forest section. Wikipedia mentions a former Merc employee invading the track in the straight in 1999 (I don't recall the event, although I recall a streaker in the motordrom section).

I think that's what they meat. More of a security problem than a safety one.

So, if you want to have an F1 with safety standards above of the old Hockenheimring you would have to take out:

1) Monaco: Obviously

2) Monza: same problem as Hockenheim. Full throttle straight followed by a violent chicane.

3) Spa: even the nerfed Eau Rouge is still dangerous, La Source is a pile-up festival, and you also have a very fast straight followed by a chicane after Blanchimont and before the main straight.

4) Singapore: See Monaco

5) Montreal: see Spa, Hockenheim, Monza.

Probably some others but you get it.

So, what I mean is that I am as much for a safe F1 as the next guy. I love the fact that dangerous accidents are extremely rare. I don't even enjoy the usual crashes. By the way, unlike F1, NASCAR is a sport in which crashes play a big part. That is also one of the factors that make it more dangerous than F1. The cars might be safer in theory but everything else is aimed at making some spectacular crashes that everybody can watch to some hardcore guitar riffs in Youtube. You can make those with F1 as well, of course, but you can't deny that nowadays F1 is safer than football!

I would have no qualms if the old Hockenheim was wrapped up in styrofoam and racers were not allowed to run at more than 40 mph (what is known as "The Massa Average Speed") IF there was a sounding safety reason. In this case there isn't anything I could find.

And, again, if Hockenheim was hazardous for F1 racing in the old configuration, why remove it for anything else? Geez, even horse racing would have looked awesome in that sector and I doubt that we would have to witness horses trading paint and crashing into the trees! :D

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Nice speech! *slow clap*

Just kidding biggrin.png

No need to be catty. The rest of your post was just fine. Yeah; I make long posts. It's nothing new. All the romanticism of some fearless, courageous mastery of danger by these brave heroes is just talk. Did my post go to the other end of the spectrum? Probably. But it's how I feel about it. I'm getting tired of reading about kids who don't have fathers thanks to racing, or guys who I used to watch as a kid who are now spending their days on online auction websites trying to get the "thrill" of a close race by bidding on stuff they don't even want since they have no feeling in one side of their body and can't race.

You're never going to eliminate that, but you can't take steps that increase the likelihood of it. This would increase the likelihood of it. It may never do it, but you add that speed, and the likelihood goes up.

Ok, it would be good if we were talking about Monaco, Singapore or even Spa, circuits where nasty accidents can or may happen. But the old Hockenheim did not have a specially bad record with regards to big shunts. The most common accident was engine failures and cars coasting on the sides. The nastiest ones occurred when cars where collected at the chicanes. Bad, but less common than contact at turns one and two at Montreal, to mention a recent example.

It doesn't matter that it didn't happen. It matters that it could, and it really wouldn't take much in that configuration. Brake failure before the chicanes? Something breaks? Auto racing safety has gotten by too long by being reactive. We kill someone, then demand safety. That's too low of a standard for us. You have to anticipate what can happen. Going that fast on that track into those corners is a bad idea.

The safety concerns, I guess, were more related to the impossibility of controlling the access in the forest section. Wikipedia mentions a former Merc employee invading the track in the straight in 1999 (I don't recall the event, although I recall a streaker in the motordrom section).

I think that's what they meat. More of a security problem than a safety one.

That's fine, but just because that's the reason they got rid of it doesn't mean that there could be no other reasons to not bring it back.

So, if you want to have an F1 with safety standards above of the old Hockenheimring you would have to take out:

1) Monaco: Obviously

2) Monza: same problem as Hockenheim. Full throttle straight followed by a violent chicane.

3) Spa: even the nerfed Eau Rouge is still dangerous, La Source is a pile-up festival, and you also have a very fast straight followed by a chicane after Blanchimont and before the main straight.

4) Singapore: See Monaco

5) Montreal: see Spa, Hockenheim, Monza.

Probably some others but you get it.

I do get it. I mentioned Monaco and Montréal, in my post, as you probably saw. I even said, "Maybe there's a way to make Old Hockenheim safe and I'm missing the obvious." The implication there was that, the way it was, no. The way it could be? Maybe; I'd have to see what they'd do. Criticizing bringing the old track back certainly doesn't preclude wishing to see continued improvements on current tracks, in the same way I left the door open for some hypothetical safety improvement that makes Old Hockenheim comfortable.

So, what I mean is that I am as much for a safe F1 as the next guy. I love the fact that dangerous accidents are extremely rare. I don't even enjoy the usual crashes. By the way, unlike F1, NASCAR is a sport in which crashes play a big part. That is also one of the factors that make it more dangerous than F1. The cars might be safer in theory but everything else is aimed at making some spectacular crashes that everybody can watch to some hardcore guitar riffs in Youtube. You can make those with F1 as well, of course, but you can't deny that nowadays F1 is safer than football!

The goal of NASCAR isn't to crash, though. NASCAR has more crashes because:

1) The races are twice as long.

2) The races have twice as many cars.

3) In oval racing, everything is a safety car, so the cars get bunched up a lot.

4) Contact is "forgivable" car-wise, so drivers try some things they shouldn't.

And the crashes are harsher because:

1) The tracks are high-speed with walls nearby.

2) The cars usually crash around other cars, as the racing is close.

NASCAR doesn't exist to make YouTube videos, even if I do criticize NASCAR heavily for using wrecks in their marketing efforts. I find that irresponsible. Regardless, it's not a demo derby. The drivers don't want to crash. The goal isn't to crash. The sport really isn't aimed at creating spectacular crashes, even if the blood-thirsty buffoons like to see them.

The fact of the matter is that it's still analogous. When they wreck in NASCAR, they are wrecking at high speed, into barriers nearby, in super-safe cars, and still, there are injuries on the fastest of tracks. Same with IndyCar. Same with Le Mans. It'd be the same with F1 if it happened, and that possibility is there. No, the probability of a crash is nowhere near what it is in NASCAR (already outlined) or IndyCar (driving standards, mostly) or Le Mans (traffic and pro-am format), but that doesn't mean the crashes that would happen would somehow be okay.

And, again, if Hockenheim was hazardous for F1 racing in the old configuration, why remove it for anything else? Geez, even horse racing would have looked awesome in that sector and I doubt that we would have to witness horses trading paint and crashing into the trees! biggrin.png

I'm honestly not sure why they destroyed it. The reasons they gave for making the new circuit don't equate to destroying the old one. You're correct.

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Well I have no idea about the relative safety of old Hockenheim compared to current circuits because I have no information about it. I think Eric's post is pretty much spot on when it comes to safety, especially the circuit safety in F1 compared to other categories, and the annoying romanticism of accidents.

On Old Hock: I don't understand the disconnection between safety and security. If it is the case that they could not secure the track confidently in the forest section then that must be a safety concern as well as a security concern. A lunatic on the track in a high speed area is a safety concern for drivers and said lunatic. Those two can't be separated. That's obviously different than saying the track layout is unsafe in itself, but of course when judging the safety of a track you cannot merely consider the layout, you must also consider all of the facilities and any other relevant factors.

I don't know if the problem was also that they were struggling to line the track properly in that area with marshal's as well as other security measures, and/or if the medical response time was an issue. If any of those things were true and couldn't be remedied, then it's never any good to say "accidents didn't happen there".

None of which makes it any less true that it might have been a great track for racing.

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@Eric:

Ok, first, don't you ever use words i don't know again, hear me? I had to look up "catty" and found out it is a chinese unit of measure for groceries. In case you are wondering the equivalence, it is a hundreth of a picul. Hope that helped.

Then I found the Merriam Webster definition and no, I wasn't being cruel or spiteeful, merely trying to humour things up a little. You should know by now that I am not one to take things seriously for too long!

I very much agreed with your safety concerns, I merely pointed that I do not think those apply to Hockenheim.

I think both you and George missed my point. I am not defending an unsafe Hockenheim. I am no "blood thirsty buffoon" as you very aptly named them. I merely fail to see what made the old Hockenheim such a safety hazard, compared with other circuits.

I am criticizing the argument itself as the same criteria was not applied to more dangerous circuits.

@George: yes, you are correct about security and safety being related and I thought the same about people invading the track. But it should probably be easier to enforce than groundhogs at Montreal and dogs at India which are as dangerous. After all, it was one disgruntled Merc ex employee, not as if at every GP there were people crosing the track at will at random moments.

You do raise a good argument, though, about the emergency vehicles being able to reach the place in time and that's something I recall was problematic. Most of the forest section was inaccesible except by helicopter or the tiny bikes used to pick up drivers. It took ages for drivers abandoning their cars to get back to the pits.

That is one excelent safety argument against it, if the owners weren't willing to invest in better auxiliary roads. It still leaves the question on why to devastate the old layout open.

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Ok, it would be good if we were talking about Monaco, Singapore or even Spa, circuits where nasty accidents can or may happen. But the old Hockenheim did not have a specially bad record with regards to big shunts. The most common accident was engine failures and cars coasting on the sides. The nastiest ones occurred when cars where collected at the chicanes. Bad, but less common than contact at turns one and two at Montreal, to mention a recent example.

I can't really recall any major shunts at Hockenheim that came from it being a fast circuit. The only one I do remember was when Luciano Burti took off over the back of Schumacher at the start of the race after Schumacher's car didn't start. That could have happened at any race.

I think the problem with a safety crusade because it's "too fast" or whatever, (not that I like seeing drivers or fans hurt/killed) is where do you stop?

Do you ban or radically change all rallying because of the fact that people get killed? Rallying, along with oval racing, is perhaps the most lethal form of motorsport. Drivers, co drivers and fans get killed because the trees/armcos are so close to the side of the road or because fans stand in stupid places. That's despite the FIA having banned the fastest rally cars of all, the Group Bs, years ago.

What about the Isle of Man TT? Something like 21 riders have been killed competing on the TT since 2000, including one this year. What do you do about that?

The thing is that drivers, riders and fans love those sorts of events, despite the risks.

It's tragic these things happen, and I hate it as much as you do, but equally I don't think sanitizing tracks, making cars slower/heavier etc and making things less challenging for drivers is really the answer.

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Andrés, yeah, I think I misunderstood you in parts. Sorry about that.

I guess I just have a hard time seeing how the Old Hockenheim would be safe without changes to it that could potentially make bringing the old track back purposeless.

James, there are no easy answers, and you know that. But hard to answer does not mean not worth asking, and hard to answer does not mean not worth answering the parts that can be answered. I don't have the answers to anything (I don't have the answers to much), but if I can have an answer to something, I'll volunteer that. My answer is that while it is hard to find out how to go forward with safety sometimes, you can never, ever go backward with safety. Bringing back the Old Hockenheim exactly as it was would be going backward.

"Sanitized" and "crusade" are rhetoric words, to me, so I'm not sure how to address. They do a lot to frame something in a certain way, but I have a hard time seeing what they really mean. Maybe I'm misunderstanding again. :lol:

Like I said, it's tough. You want to balance things; I get that. But if you ever, ever have to tip the scales to one side, it just has to be to the side of safety. Calling it "sanitized" to go that way is like calling it "homicide" when IndyCar decided to pursue 237 mph average laps, or calling Le Mans a "death trap" when Davidson had his wreck. For my part, I'd find any of the three words in quotations to be a bit too far. There's a notion out there that racing has to be x, y, and z to be exciting. Having watched just about every type of racing possible since some time in the 1990s, I've seen all kinds of attributes that make good racing. I'm not so sure it becomes boring when you lessen the danger. I guess it depends on what you want from it. If you want the brave, shining heroes who put their lives on the line just to entertain you (ha, as if that was anyone's motivation to be a racing driver :D), then, yeah, I guess it would sting to lose some of that. If you just want a bunch of morally ambiguous people who happen to be skilled in competitions completely meaningless but cool to watch on TV, well, I don't see danger needing to enter the equation there. I don't know; I think it's too far to say that safety improvements "sanitized" the racing. I really don't think the racing has become more boring in any series where I've seen safety improvements made. That's just nostalgia kicking in. Safety is part of progress, and progress takes us away from the past, and the past feels like home. So we associate safety with that. I just don't think it's the cause. Some 8-year-old is growing up with today's F1 and is going to tell you how much he/she misses the Bahrain Grand Prix when it's gone, you know. I think that's part of it, too. I can't think of a time a safety improvement caused me to find the racing less interesting, or a time I felt the drivers were any lesser because they didn't have to "risk as much" when risking, though I never saw them as heroes in the first place as much as people with an amusing talent and cool machinery at their disposal.

Oh, well.

A lot of words for what isn't on the FIA's table. :lol:

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I don't disagree.

However, right now, F1 has X dangerous tracks. If you went back to the Old Hockenheim, exactly as it was, you would then have X+1. This would therefore be a move that makes F1 more dangerous than before, and is therefore a move that cannot be made. The argument that there are still dangerous tracks, so we should add another is analogous to the argument that drivers die wearing crash helmets, anyway, so they shouldn't have to wear helmets. It's the "it's dangerous, anyway, so who cares?" argument, to me. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way to anyone. I know that no one here wants to see bad things happen, believe me.

By no means do I excuse other tracks from not making improvements. I love a lot of the "dangerous" circuits as circuits, but I'd really welcome safety changes there, too.

Still, if you do nothing, you keep the tracks with more obvious vulnerabilities at X. This doesn't improve safety, but it doesn't change it. You revert back, and you take that to X+1. I'd rather do nothing than make it worse. Ideally, they'll figure out how to get to X-1, and then X-2, etc. and figure out how to do that without dropping a circuit from the calendar.

It's an interesting discussion, though, for what James points out in. The safest race is the one you don't run, so where do you draw the line? Again, I don't know, but that shouldn't grind safety to a standstill, either. Without a detailed plan of what changes would be made in reviving the Old Hockenheim to ensure an appropriate level of safety, it's hard to say that I'd prefer it. I don't really perceive much of a problem with the current one, which isn't to say that the old one wouldn't make for a more interesting show.

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I don't disagree.

However, right now, F1 has X dangerous tracks. If you went back to the Old Hockenheim, exactly as it was, you would then have X+1. This would therefore be a move that makes F1 more dangerous than before, and is therefore a move that cannot be made. The argument that there are still dangerous tracks, so we should add another is analogous to the argument that drivers die wearing crash helmets, anyway, so they shouldn't have to wear helmets. It's the "it's dangerous, anyway, so who cares?" argument, to me. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way to anyone. I know that no one here wants to see bad things happen, believe me.

By no means do I excuse other tracks from not making improvements. I love a lot of the "dangerous" circuits as circuits, but I'd really welcome safety changes there, too.

Still, if you do nothing, you keep the tracks with more obvious vulnerabilities at X. This doesn't improve safety, but it doesn't change it. You revert back, and you take that to X+1. I'd rather do nothing than make it worse. Ideally, they'll figure out how to get to X-1, and then X-2, etc. and figure out how to do that without dropping a circuit from the calendar.

It's an interesting discussion, though, for what James points out in. The safest race is the one you don't run, so where do you draw the line? Again, I don't know, but that shouldn't grind safety to a standstill, either. Without a detailed plan of what changes would be made in reviving the Old Hockenheim to ensure an appropriate level of safety, it's hard to say that I'd prefer it. I don't really perceive much of a problem with the current one, which isn't to say that the old one wouldn't make for a more interesting show.

I think the problem is the level of emotional connection with the track. Having watched more races in the old layout than in the new, I'd rather have the old one back. But if you didn't watch them, then it might not get you emotional enough to make a difference.

As for where the line should be drawn in the safety vs...whatever I don0t think that is a problem at all. Only "blood thirsty buffoons" (sorry, I love that phrase) would think that nowadays F1 is "too" safe. F1 is fine. Cars still go at 300+kmh, not 20. They still race to the limit, even when that limit is imposed by the tires. Driving slower in Sh#tty tires is not safer than driving faster in undestructible tires, after all. Ask Hamilton for details.

There is no line. EVerybody might draw the line at different places, but it is also easy to see that some extremes are not wanted by anybody. No styrofoam covered cars, and no death races either.

Like you said, the safest race is the one not run. But only if you take it to the silly extreme. In that sense, the safest thing would be to live in a cavern on sterilized water. And you still would not be 100% safe. No, we are talking about common sense boundaries here. F1 is a dangerous sport. Nothing can be made to avoid that. But it can be made safer without hindering the spectacle too much. And so far, so good!

Finally: to your argument of X+1. It would ring true if they had removed Monaco from the calendar and people complained about some other tracks being around. Monaco is intrinsically dangerous after all, even for an F1 track. But no, they removed the old Hockenheimring which never seemed like one of the most dangerous tracks at all. It just doesn't make the safety concern believable.

It's like saying: ok, this zone of the Jurassic Park has velocirraptors, T-Rex, Pterodactyls, etc. And they are all very dangerous and we want to improve safety. So we will eliminate...bees.

- What?

- Hey! You could be killed by a bee sting!

- Yes b-b-but...

- But nothing! Will this be safer without bees?

- Err...yes..

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I still remember the old track. The main issues with the straights are as I remember:

1) The straights were very long, which in itself is not a problem as many of you point out. However it helps if you imagine the scenario a few years back involving Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen and the aerial display that ensued in the following points

2) The straights were narrow with just a grassy area with a width of around 3-4 meters on the right side for most of the straights. In case of cars retiring in said areas, the marshalls will be exposed to much risk because of the width and also because it will take a long time to remove the car.

3) The forest happens to be a protected forest. Any effort to upgrade the track will inevitably include a significant amount of deforestation, which is bound to be a political issue. And the fact that the forest is there makes it difficult for recovery of vehicles stopped by the side. The stewards may have to deploy safety cars to ensure that recovery can be done safely.

4) There is a chance that a car going airborne may land in the forest. That outcome hardly ends well. Formula One cars are not designed to be able to cope with hitting trees at all angles, even on the vertical plane. I believe I do not have to remind you all of Jim Clark's fate. True, cars have become safer but I'd rather not take the risk with drivers head sticking out of an open c-pit.

5) Commercial value: For much of the old track, the action is invisible to crowds except in certain areas with grandstands. For the crowds on track much of the action would have happened before they can see it (yeah, its a minor point I agree)

On a strictly F1 note regarding the old configuration, the track would necessitate a lower downforce setup, which will increase speeds but also making it easier for things to go wrong due to lower grip levels.

Hockenheim was in a so-so financial situation at the time the decision had to be made (during the schumi era), so I guess the steps they took were logical and would cause minimal impact while affording higher safety standards. To allow the races to be held there in the first place rather than keeping some romantic and historical notion. At the time also, safety improvements were coming in leaps and bounds on all tracks, getting stricter year on year. Perhaps the powers that be decided that it would be unfeasible to keep the old layout.

If I remember correctly, that is..

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