Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg admit they are puzzled by relatively empty grandstands at Hockenheim for their home German Grand Prix, with neither local driver certain as to why interest in their home country appears to be waning.
With TV figures down in Germany and the stands noticeably bare over the Friday and Saturday compared with previous years, Vettel admits he is surprised by the lower than usual turn-out, particularly given the dominance of Mercedes in 2014 and the success of himself and current F1 leader Nico Rosberg.
“I saw that the grandstands weren't as full as previous years. Why? I don't know. Generally it couldn't be any better; you have a German manufacturer right at the top, you have German drivers able to win races ... I think the British fans would be fairly happy with that! And the sun is shining; maybe it's too much!"
Hulkenberg was of a similar opinion, admitting it is a 'shame' to see F1 seemingly falling out of favour in an era that has seen Germany prove a dominant force in one form or another.
“It is a bit empty out there, a bit too empty in my opinion and it is a shame to see,” the Force India driver said. “We have a German driver leading the championship, a German car winning every race but interest seems to be down. Not sure why, but it has been sad to see that.”
There are four German drivers on the 2014 F1 grid, three of which will start the German Grand Prix inside the top ten with Rosberg on pole, Vettel in sixth, Hulkenberg ninth and Adrian Sutil in 17th.
This year's German GP marks a return to Hockenheim for the first time since 2012 as part of a deal to alternate hosting duties with the Nurburgring and comes less than a week after Germany celebrated winning the FIFA World Cup.