The first German Grand Prix was held at Berlin in 1926. Sadly the rain sodden event was overshadowed by accidents, including one which killed three officials.

After this awful Grand Prix at Berlin's Avus the Grand Prix moved to the legendary (in my opinion) Nuburgring circuit. Work at the Nuburgring began in 1925, so to provide employment in the local area. Including the "Southern Circuit Extension", the Nurburgring was 17.58 miles long. The Longest Circuit used in Modern Formula One (Spa-Franchorchamps) is 4.35 miles. Grands Prix were ran at the Nurburgring until 1939, when World War Two began.

It took until 1949 for the Nurburgring to host another race. In 1951 it became a championship race for the new Grand Prix Series. For this 1951 race 180,000 fans watched Alberto Ascari win in a Ferrari. This circuit had a reputation as a circuit that proved the great drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, who won what he described as his "Best Ever Race" there in 1957.

In 1959 the German Grand Prix was held at Avus in Berlin again, where the race was held over two heats (This was unique). However, the return to Avus was marred by the death of Jean Behra. Formula One cars never raced at Avus again.

In 1960 there was no German Grand Prix, however 1961 seen the German Grand Prix hosted at Nurburgring again. During the '60's Graham Hill, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme won at the Nurburgring, as did Jackie Stewart, by over 4 minutes in 1968. Hockenheim hosted it's first German Grand Prix in 1970 as the Nurburgring underwent modifications, sadly this circuit will forever be known as the circuit where Jim Clark died in a Formula Two Race in 1968.

The next year Formula One returned to the Nurburgring, however it quickly became clear that the Nurburgring was too old for modern F1 cars. The last time a German Grand Prix was held on the old Nurburgring was 1976, where Niki Lauda crashed and suffered heavy burns.

In 1977 the German Grand Prix was moved to it's current home Hockenheim, where Nika Lauda, having made a brave and quick recovery from his almost fatal accident the previous year, won. This circuit had very long straights and was famous for destroying F1 car engines. 1980 saw another tragedy at Hockenheim as Patrick Depallier of Clement-Ferrand, France died after a testing accident at the Ostkurve. The race in 1982 was famous, as Brazilian Three Times World Champion Nelson Piquet fought Salazar after they collided as Piquet tried to "lap" him. Patrick Tambay of France won that ract in 1982.

In 1984, German f1 fans were treated to both the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim at the European Grand Prix at the Nuburgring. However this was a much shorter circuit then the old legendary Nurburgring (This one was just 2.82 miles long).

This new circuit hosted the German Grand Prix of 1985 when Prost won. The German Grand Prix moved back to Hockenheim in 1986, and has been hosted there ever since. Since 1995 the new Nurburgring circuit has hosted the European Grand Prix.

Finally, the last really interesting German Grand Pris was the German Grand Prix of 2000. This is of note because of the manner in which Rubens Barrichello won the race. Due to the following he won the race despite starting 18th (out of 22).

  1. His teammate Michael Schumacher collided with Gaincarlo Fisichella and crashed on the first corner.
  2. On lap 24 a protestor walked on the track with the following on his waterproof garment "Mercedes Benz, who knew about my health problems, offered me a job I could not do and then sacked me for physical ineptitude after 20 years service". He forced the safety car out which meant that the McLaren Mercedes cars of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen were no longer far ahead.
  3. Rubens Barrichello stayed out whenever it started to rain, on his slick tyres while Hakkinen & Coulthard Pitted for rain tyres.
Sources:
  • Formula 1 Yearbook 2000-2001 ISBN 0-752534-735-6
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One ISBN 0-340-73887-1
  • www.forix.com

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