The Hockenheimring was neutered for the 2002 race, with the long sweeping loop through the forest cut off and Turns 3 through 10 added to the circuit.
“I remember the craziness of the old configuration—huge straights and fiddly chicanes, which made set-up a tricky compromise—and this layout is very different, but you can see they’ve designed it to promote close racing,” Jenson Button said, per McLaren’s race preview.
The new, 4.574-kilometre format is not nearly as interesting, but it does still feature the spectacular (when full of fans, anyway) stadium section at the end of the lap and wrapping around the start/finish straight.
Check out the official F1 circuit guide video to see a lap from a driver’s perspective.
The NordKurve is part of the original layout, a high-speed right-hander.
“It’s an interesting track, starting with Turn 1 which is a very high-speed corner and can be quite tricky on the opening lap,” Daniil Kvyat said, according to Toro Rosso’s race preview.
Felipe Massa knows all about that after rolling his car following a collision with Kevin Magnussen at the start in 2014.
Turns 2, 3, 4 and 5
Turn 2 is where the new circuit veers off from the old one. It is an overtaking opportunity, as the drivers brake from more than 300 km/h to approximately 100 km/h for the tight right turn.
From there, they accelerate through the quick, right-left kinks of Turns 3 and 4 before blasting away around the long, sweeping Turn 5.
“The exit of Turn 3 is where you need really good traction, especially in the race and after Turn 4 you drive down the long curved straight—time for a beer and a sausage… it’s so long!” Kvyat said.
The hairpin of Turn 6 is the best overtaking spot on the track, coming after a lengthy, flat-out run from Turn 4. “We go from 330 to 70kph in 100 metres,” Carlos Sainz Jr. explained in the Toro Rosso preview.
Turns 7, 8, 9 and 10
After a short straight, Turn 7 is a flat-out right-hander before a heavy braking zone for Turn 8, a slow left-hander taken in third gear.
Turn 9 is a left-hand kink before the fifth-gear right-hander of Turn 10 that leads onto a straight that takes the drivers to the stadium section of the original circuit.
Turns 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
This section is all part of the original layout and is surrounded by massive grandstands.
Turn 11 is a quick right-hander, followed by a short straight leading to the long, fourth-gear Turn 12. Turns 13 and 14 are fast kinks en route to the double right-handers of Turns 15 and 16, where drivers must carry as much speed as possible onto the start/finish straight.
The circuit map is from Wikimedia Commons.