Poor German GP attendance “not satisfying” – Wolff

2014 German Grand Prix

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Hockenheimring, 2014Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff says Formula One should look into the low spectator attendance for this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

Hockenheim’s large grandstands, which were expanded in 2002 to accommodate more spectators, were sparsely populated on the first day of running at the track. It comes after F1 enjoyed a string of well-attended races in Britain, Austria and Canada.

“It’s not satisfying,” Wolff admitted. “If you compare Hockenheim Friday to Friday in Silverstone and Friday in Austria it’s a different world, and we have to understand why they is.”

“I’m not sure whether we have the exact number [of spectators] for Sunday already, there are lots of people probably deciding short notice depending on the weekend. Then we have to analyse the phenomenon.

“If the weekend continues like it does now we can think about it.”

German competitors have enjoyed great success in Formula One in recent years. Sebastian Vettel won the world championship for the last four years in a row, Nico Rosberg is leading the drivers’ championship and Mercedes are comfortably ahead in the constructors’ championship.

Wolff added the team “must tackle” the reliability problems which have caused two retirements for the team in the last three races.

“We are looking very solid in terms of pace,” he said. “The car is quick and the car was very reliable at the beginning of the season, if you look besides Melbourne.”

“Since then we have had a couple of issues which we must get on top of. We are working very hard and trying to understand how to improve reliability, mechanical reliability is one of our most important objects obviously because in order to win you need to finish.”

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47 comments on Poor German GP attendance “not satisfying” – Wolff

  1. GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 18th July 2014, 20:34

    F1’s popularity in Germany has been in decline since Schumacher’s 1st retirement at the end of 2006.

    Nothing has changed in the TV situation for about 15 years. Everything is live on RTL alongside enhanced coverage on what is now Sky Deutschland (Used to be Premiere World & before that DSF+), Yet the TV ratings have seen a very sharp decline on both platforms.

    • Becken Lima said on 18th July 2014, 20:38

      can I guess that Vettel lacks charisma?

      For me it’s unacceptable to see poor attendance (and poor tv ratings) at Germany, having they a driver that dominates the sport in the last years.

      • Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 18th July 2014, 20:58

        Vettel doesn’t have the amount of support that Schumacher had, that’s for sure. But this situation is strange nonetheless. I mean, F1 at the moment has a lot of German protagonists. Rosberg is leading the championship, Mercedes is dominating, Vettel has won the past four championships, Hulkenberg could be the next top driver. I really can’t explain F1’s decline in Germany.

        • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 18th July 2014, 21:21

          Does it have anything to do with a resurgence in the popularity of DTM or other series? I’m guessing, by the way. Not sure if DTM has become more popular now or not.

          • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 19th July 2014, 19:30

            DTM is doing better than it has been, Although TV figures & circuit attendance is still quite poor.

            I saw it reported about a year ago that separate polling & surveys done by both Sky & RTL seems to suggest that German fans have been far less accepting of things like DRS & The high degredation tyres so maybe there playing a role in things.

  2. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 18th July 2014, 20:45

    Well Toto, it would appear that ze Germans don’t really care for your Monegasque drivers racing in their own league this year while the local boy with the pointy finger is still coming to terms with his car.

  3. gzegzolek (@gzegzolek) said on 18th July 2014, 21:32

    I think German people like loud engine and like less limites. F1 is now limites, controls, huge amont of rules and even more rules to put more limitations on F1.
    Germans has no limit speed on highways so they donot like nowday’s F1 where limit is everythere.

  4. Aaron said on 18th July 2014, 22:13

    I was there. IT was just too hot in The sun. On friday you can sit everywhere and everybody was looking for shadow

  5. Jonny Edwards (@racectrl) said on 18th July 2014, 23:15

    Considering how bad a year 2013 was, double points fiasco, lack of sound and ugly looking cars, it shouldn’t be a surprise that certain fans are tuning out. Although this year has been a very positive one it’s probably too late for most to change their minds and pay even more for last minute bookings. I ended up not going to the British GP for similar reasons.

  6. Rod lee said on 19th July 2014, 5:21


    Calm down Toto…..we’re here…and the grandstands sit on concrete….so it was like a sauna all day. We were at Silverstone and we sit at Luffield Terrace every year, and it’s never been as hot as this….god help us today!!

  7. Dear folks

    As German I can explain easily to you, why we hate F1 now.

    Rubbish cars, rubbish corps, rubbish rules, rubbish penalties, rubbish German drivers, a scandalous Mercedes team, rubbish ticket fares . . .

    I used to visit the Hockenheim Grand Prix regularly, I knew since Melbourne, I wouldn’t ever again!

    F1 is dead, R.I.P. !

    P.S. No, DTM has not become more popular, they have even more rubbish rules, e.g. hard compound drivers get blue flagged in order to let pass the drivers on soft compounds although they are within the same lap!, but they have indeed the better cars nowadays!

  8. Gareth said on 19th July 2014, 10:38

    I know when we went in 2012, we did the pit walk on Thursday and then completely skipped Friday and went to the Sinsheim Museum instead.

    In 2005 there were 110,000 spectators on the Sunday, 78,000 in 2008 and 65,000 in 2010. In 2012, there 38,000 spectators attended on Friday, 50,000 for qualifying and 62,000 on Sunday. It will be interesting to see the numbers for this year on Saturday/Sunday and if they are anywhere close to 2012.

    Can’t imagine the local government are happy to pay for F1 with those declining numbers, so maybe the rumours will turn out to be true.

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