F1 German Grand Prix: Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff concerned with low fan numbers at Hockenheim
Wolff admits it is 'not satisfying' to see such large portions of the stands empty
Saturday 19 July 2014
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes steps need to be taken to arrest Germany's disappearing Formula One fan base.
Despite a German in a German-built car leading the championship - as Nico Rosberg is currently doing for Mercedes - spectator numbers are in serious decline for this weekend's race in Hockenheim.
With the grandstands around the circuit holding a capacity of 95,000, less than half that figure is expected for the race on Sunday.
During the three practice sessions there were huge swathes of stands with barely a soul in them, a far cry from the Michael Schumacher-era when they were always packed to the rafters.
"It's not satisfying," said Wolff.
"If you compare Hockenheim Friday to Friday at Silverstone (British Grand Prix) and Friday in Austria, it's a different world and we have to understand why that is.
"I'm not sure whether we have an exact number for Sunday already - you know, there are lots of people probably deciding at short notice, depending on the weekend - but we have to analyse the phenomenon.
"If the weekend continues like it does now, we need to think about it."
One likely reason is the staggering price of tickets, with the cost of a category one pass for the weekend being 515 euros (£407), with the cheapest set at 165 euros (£130).
With F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's race-sanctioning fees somewhere in the region of £15million, though, organisers in turn have to hike up prices in a bid to cover the exorbitant expense.
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