REUTERS' Alan Baldwin asked, "Where have all the German Formula One fans gone?" The "glamour sport was asking itself that question after tens of thousands stayed away from a home grand prix that should have been box office gold in the land of Mercedes but instead left plenty of empty seats on Sunday." Some "pointed the finger at the country's reigning quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, struggling for form at a below-par Red Bull this season and unhappy with the new rules and engine format." Others "blamed World Cup fatigue, Germany's strict tax rules on corporate hospitality or the absence of Michael Schumacher." Whatever the reason, "the facts on Sunday were stark."
Instead of "queues of cars on the autobahns and crowds thronging through the turnstiles, the race at Hockenheim drew an attendance of just 52,000 on Sunday." In total, 95,000 "turned up over the three days — a small crowd in one of the world's largest car exporting nations and home of sporting marques like Porsche, BMW and Audi." The Sunday figure represented a 38% "drop on the previous race at the circuit two years ago."
High ticket prices, with a category one weekend pass costing â‚¬515 ($700), "were also seen as a factor — particularly with Austria offering a cheaper alternative as well as novelty value in the same German-speaking catchment area" REUTERS