Teams concerned by low attendance at Hockenheim
Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff and McLaren race director Eric Boullier have expressed their concern over the low attendance figures on the Friday and Saturday of the German Grand Prix weekend.
Grandstands were noticeably bare on both days, contrasting heavily with the packed crowds at the last two races in Austria and Britain.
After saying the lack of spectators was “not satisfying” in Friday’s press conference, Wolff added after qualifying on Saturday: “It is important to have a general discussion. We have a mega weekend in Silverstone.
“If you compare Friday morning at Silverstone to this weekend it is completely different. We had the same in Austria and we have to properly assess why that is happening. Why are we having full grandstands on Friday morning at Silverstone, why are we not having that in Hockenheim?
“It would be too simple and not professional to express an opinion here, as I am not a professional in selling the tickets and attracting the crowds. I think Bernie and the ones involved are putting quite a lot of effort into what can be done and if you see the crowds we had in the Nurburgring was approximately what we have here, so is it a phenomenon out here? I don’t know.”
Boullier said it was “scary” but added that it is not as dramatic as some have suggested. “I think first, I have been told by the promoter they are down about 10,000 people, which is not as dramatic as being half empty because this is a huge stadium,” he explained.
“To be honest, there is a change in Formula 1. There is a change in engine. We know many, many people complain, but many people like the new series. There are some countries, as you can see, like Austria where it was absolutely crowded, Silverstone was a success despite Tour de France, Wimbledon and some other things.
“So I think it is going to be up and down depending on the country. I also know that here there were a lot of fans for Michael Schumacher, so many they are missing in the grandstand. There are reasons. I am not saying we are fine, everyone is nice and happy and the sky is blue. I am just saying, we need to always be careful, but I don’t think it is as dramatic as it should be said.”
Nico Hulkenberg, competing in his home race this weekend, said it is a “shame” as a German driver is currently leading the championship and a German car has won eight of the nine races so far in 2014.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.