Why was Hockenheim castrated?

I’ll admit to having lost interest in Formula One for several years. However, there’s been a few races that have still been worth paying attention to, due to tracks which allow good races - Canda, Belgium and Spain are examples. Another was Germany, until they turned the spectacular Hockenheim into a merry-go-round. Why did they do this?

(This is in GQ, because I’m hoping there’s a real official answer - the conspiracy theories are all to easy to obtain elsewhere…)

FWIW, the German-language Wikipedia page says: “After demands from Formula 1, which could not put up enough (billboards|hoardings) on the forest sections and could not sell enough seats, the length of the former high speed track was drastically shortened in 2002.” - I don’t know myself if that’s the correct explanation.

The official version, from their official web site, is: “As the old track was too long, at 6.8 km, and was not accessible to spectators in long sections in the forest, in late 1999 first plans were drafted for a shorter track with better opportunities for overtaking.”

The same thing was done to the Oesterreichring (now A-1 Ring) earlier, and one could argue that the chicanes on the finish straight at Monza (and elimination of the oval) are a symptom of the same disease. The Hockenheimring had chicanes added to the forest straights earlier, but that wasn’t enough.

Safety had a lot to do with it, too. F1 cars keep getting faster no matter what rules changes get put into place, and the tracks have had to be slowed down just to keep drivers alive. It can’t have been inspiring to see the monument where Jim Clark died every time they went through the forest.

In order to meet modern safety standards they wanted to widen the track through the forest, which I believe is part of a German equivilent of a national forest. They asked the German government permission to cut down cut down trees in order to accomplish this and they said “Nein!”. So, they reconfigured the circuit to fit into the area where there weren’t any trees.

The old track was ripped up and is slowly being reclaimed by the forest…

At least they left the old Nurburgring intact.