• German GP - Race

Vettel blamed for poor Hockenheim turnout

ESPN Staff
July 22, 2014 « Ecclestone: No concerns over Russian Grand Prix | Raikkonen has 'upmost confidence and support' at Ferrari »
© Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel has been blamed for the poor turnout at his home grand prix following negative comments made earlier in the season about F1's new V6 turbo era.

After three consecutive rounds in front of capacity crowds in Canada, Austria and Great Britain, just 52,000 people turned up to watch the German Grand Prix on Sunday - down 30% from the attendance in 2012. Circuit adviser Katja Heim thinks Vettel, who memorably labelled the sound of the new engines "shit" in March, should bear some of the blame for the poor turnout due to the influence he has over German fans.

"It certainly didn't really help that Sebastian in his frustration about the new Formula One and his car gave loads of interviews about how bad Formula One is now and that it's not worth going there," Heim told Reuters. "As a four-time world champion from Germany, people believe him more than they would the sales people. So if he says there's nothing any more for the fans, it's not Formula One like it used to be, that was 100% quite damaging."

Heim also confessed Germany's recent FIFA World Cup success played a part, poking fun at England's dismal performance several weeks before the well-attended British Grand Prix.

"For Formula One, it would maybe have been better if Germany had done an England and gone out in the first round. I really believe that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN Staff Close