Grand Prix Business Diary: Germany and Hungary

Two races in two weekends before Formula One's August summer break saw Fernando Alonso extend his championship lead, a clash with the Olympics and much talk of the 2013 calendar.

Two races in two weeks before Formula One's summer break saw Fernando Alonso extend his lead in the world championship. But was the wider world watching? That the Hungarian Grand Prix clashed with the start of the Olympic Games in London, though, was surely a scheduling blunder by Formula One.

Media coverage of the race, certainly in the UK, was significantly down while around the world, where the same broadcaster held the rights to both the Grand Prix and the Games, build-up programmes were curtailed. It was a media battle Formula One couldn't hope to win.

Medal prospects
Bernie Ecclestone will be in London this week attending the Olympics as a personal guest of International Olympic President Jacques Rogge, following the Belgian's visit to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone recently.

Ecclestone is a regular visitor to the Games, travelling to Sydney, Athens and Beijing to take in the action. We can only hope, though, that his latest visit does not prompt him to resurrect his idea of replacing Formula One's points system with gold, silver and bronze medals as he suggested a couple of years back.
 
Germany’s Grand Prix question
The German Grand Prix has alternated between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring in recent years and, in theory, it is the Nurburgring's turn to host in 2013. However the Nurburgring has slipped further into financial ruin in recent months while Hockenheim could only boast a 59,000 raceday attendance for this year's Grand Prix, a figure which looks worse given the circuit holds 120,000.

Tough times for a country that for so long was the only nation with two races a season. Bernie Ecclestone insists there will be a German Grand Prix next year – part of a wider rumination on the 2013 calendar including the line “It's 20 races, all the same more or less” – but where?

Strong performance
Lewis Hamilton's fine win in Hungary came hot on the heels of the announcement that British nutrition brand Maximsucle is to continue its partnership with the McLaren team. Maximuscle's logos first appeared on the rear wing of the team's cars in Germany and the deal will continue for the rest of the season.

It is the latest manifestation of McLaren's wide-ranging strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline, signed last year, which has also seen Lucozade become the team's official sports and energy drink.
 
Shambles
Hungary saw the third attempt at Formula One's new podium procedure, in which drivers are interviewed on the podium. And it was the worst yet. After Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda, two world champions who at least have extensive television experience, at Silverstone and Hockenheim, the post-race interviews in Budapest were carried out by opera singer Placido Domingo.

Of course. Exactly how Domingo got the role remains unclear but the main criteria seems to be that he sometimes watches the sport. Key questions, particularly Romain Grosjean's view on being shoved off the road by teammate Kimi Raikkonen were omitted in favour of a directionless mess. And not even a whisper of Nessun Dorma!

Formula One is a model of professionalism in every department but the new podium format is nothing but a shambles.

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