German journalist Michael Schmidt has expressed concern about the half-empty grandstands at Hockenheim last weekend. In Auto Motor und Sport, he said he was "surprised" by the "lack of interest" in the German grand prix amid the fascinating 2012 season.
Indeed, Germans have seldom had more to cheer about in F1, with the grid boasting legend Michael Schumacher
, the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel
, three other race drivers and the Stuttgart marque Mercedes
. But only 38,000 spectators attended on Friday, 50,000 for qualifying and 62,000 for Sunday's race. In 2005 there were 110,000 spectators on the Sunday, declining to 78,000 in 2008 and 65,000 two years ago.
"Certainly, the ticket prices are extremely high and the financial crisis has an effect, but isn't this also true in England and Spain?" wrote Schmidt. Indeed, in crisis-gripped Spain, 82,000 spectators turned out to watch Fernando Alonso
in May. Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler said the attendance figures for this year's race has allowed the circuit to break even. (GMM)