Legendary Track Blames F1’s €300 Move for Killing the Sport after Michael Schumacher’s Retirement

Published 02/11/2024, 11:30 AM EST

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Formula 1’s popularity has given the sport a ‘good problem’ in a way that new venues are emerging every day wanting to be a part of the circus. New tracks are being constructed in hopes of being put on the busy F1 schedule. The sport has been increasing the number of races every year to accommodate tracks willing to invest hundreds of millions into securing hosting rights. However, this isn’t the case with every track and the German GP, specifically the Hockenheimring. The MD of the circuit revealed since Michael Schumacher retired, the track hasn’t seen the same level of traction.

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The legendary track became the host of the German GP for the first time in 1970 and hosted the race over 50 times until 2019, which was when the circus traveled to Germany last. The reason behind the absence is related to how the popularity of the sport declined after Schumacher’s retirement. Sebastian Vettel took the baton from the seven-time world champion but couldn’t spark the same level of excitement among the fans as Schumacher did.

This was mainly due to the increased costs of hosting a race and the declining popularity resulting in diminishing returns. The German GP started facing this poor ROI in 2010 but the then commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone promised to cover the losses incurred by the track. This was not the case when Liberty Media took over.

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As seen on X, the MD of Hockenheimring revealed how the track hosted 30,000 fewer spectators towards the end. This was mainly because in Germany, and the rest of the world, F1 vanished from free television. TV rights brought money to the sport but also resulted in a decline in popularity among German fans. The average ticket price of $330 was the final nail in the coffin for Hockenheimring.

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Germany is an anomaly because every other nation in the world is dying to become a part of the circus and throwing money to book their spot on the calendar. However, there is one way this lukewarm outlook toward the sport can be changed.

Hockenheimring MD wants a star like Michael Schumacher to revive F1 in Germany

The main reason behind F1’s downfall in popularity in Germany was a lack of a strong German driver. Since Sebastian Vettel, no German driver has impressed enough to get the backing of the fans. A lot of expectations were riding on the shoulders of Mick Schumacher. However, for now, the young Schumacher has failed to impress. Perhaps a second chance in F1 will change that but for now, there is no one German fans can back and that’s exactly what Deutschland needs to bring the circus back to town.

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“We especially have to inspire younger people. A German driver who, ideally, is at the front and still has character and charisma, would of course also help,” said the MD.

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We are not sure if a young and exciting driver will change the German outlook toward F1 but this does seem like the only way to go.

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For now, at least the track’s MD will pin all their hopes on a German prospect in F1 because we don’t see a scenario where hosting a race becomes cheaper. So it’s increased interest or continued absence from the calendar.

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Written by:

Mahim Suhalka

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"Chaos is Order yet Undeciphered." - said Noble prize winner José Saramago, essentially meaning the path to success is not always linear and something, I, Mahim Suhalka truly believe in. I have written over 1800 articles in my tenure at EssentiallySports so far making me one of the senior writers in the division.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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