Fredrik Johnsson explains Frankfurt choice

Sat 16 April 2011

Fredrik Johnsson explains Frankfurt choice

Fredrik Johnsson explains Frankfurt choice

STOP PRESS: Frankfurt will no longer host the 2011 Race Of Champions due to a fixture clash with the Bundesliga German football

Q&A with Fredrik Johnsson, organiser of the Race Of Champions

How do you go about selecting a venue for the Race Of Champions and how did Frankfurt come out on top?

How do you go about selecting a venue for the Race Of Champions and how did Frankfurt come out on top?
Once again we studied a number of different proposals from around the world. We fairly quickly narrowed it down to three different candidate nations, then two. Germany was obviously one of them after last year’s successful event. Having met with representatives from both countries, we realised that our preferred option was to continue in Germany for one more year at least. Then the process moved on to deciding which German venue to select. After looking at five different potential venues, we made a list of the pros and cons of each and in the end Frankfurt came out on top.



How important was the popularity of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in that decision?
Germany is one of the major markets in Europe, especially in the motoring world. And the fact that there are so many great German drivers at the moment is clearly one very strong point. Sebastian is coming off his world championship season and he again has all the ingredients in place to defend his title with Red Bull Racing. And Michael is back for a second season with every chance of doing better this year. So that obviously had an impact on the decision.


We’ve grown used to seeing amazing line-ups at the Race Of Champions. How confident are you that you can match it again?
Having Sebastian and Michael signed up straightaway is a very good start, and we’re confident that we’ll have a line-up that is at least as strong as the last few years.


Last year’s surprise winner Filipe Albuquerque came through the ROC South Europe qualifying round. Is anything similar planned this year?
The financial crisis in Portugal means it’s a difficult situation in that country at the moment. So we’re potentially looking at another regional final somewhere else in the world for this year. Then we hope to go back to Portugal in 2012 when they’ve hopefully sorted things out and their economy has picked up again.


What other changes can we look forward to at ROC 2011?
We’re always trying to improve the concept and the format to make it even more attractive to the fans and the drivers. We have a bit more space in the stadium in Frankfurt compared to Dusseldorf so we’ll try to take advantage of that by making a slightly bigger track than last year. The drivers seemed to really enjoy last year’s track so we’re not looking for a revolution but an evolution, making the track even wider to give the drivers more space to throw the cars around and create an even better show. We are also planning tests in the coming months to see if it’s possible to incorporate some jumps on the track. Another point that we’ve discussed with our co-promoter TSP is ticket prices. This year we’ve agreed to have a starting ticket price of 19 Euros, which is even lower than usual. We really want ROC to be as fan friendly as possible and ticket price should not be an issue for fans to have a chance to see the great drivers compete in the Race Of Champions.