Black. Red. Gold. The german colors appear discreetly on sebastian vettel’s racing bike, with which the four-time formula 1 world champion arrived at the drivers’ camp at the hockenheimring on friday. The flag is painted in small honeycombs on the frame of the gefahrts.
A grand prix like this in front of home fans is at least a little bit special for every formula 1 driver. For the ferrari driver, who was born not far from hockenheim in heppenheim, the little bit is a bit rougher. Vettel has yet to win on the traditional course in north baden. Last year, he was very close, but a mistake on a wet track 15 laps from the end cost him an almost tangible success.
Except for the result, the weekend was fantastic, vettel said, pointing out some of the factors that made the weekend so special: "the many fans, the many german flags, the enthusiasm around the track."To drive in the home country, that is simply "always special".
The question for vettel and the second german formula 1 driver nico hulkenberg is: how much longer? The last grand prix at the nurburgring was in 2013; due to the insolvency of the eifel circuit, no formula 1 race was held at a german track in 2015 for the first time in 55 years.
The organizers of the hockenheimring can no longer earn money with the grand prix itself. After the boom surrounding record-breaking world champion michael schumacher, who secured germany’s first ever home victory here in july 1995, faded, losses began to add up for the operators. "Today we are in a position to maintain the most necessary, to invest the most necessary, but due to the debt burden, which is around 28 million euros, we are currently unable to make any major investments," managing director georg seiler told the german press agency.
Formula 1 was once again allowed to make a detour around hockenheim in 2020. The current edition was only saved by mercedes stepping in as title sponsor and giving its silver arrows a special livery. Other racetracks are subsidized by the state, other racetracks simply have more money.
Seiler has known the pain of separation for a long time, but he still feels sorry for it. "Formula 1 has only become really big in germany, it has a tradition here. Many companies, not least suppliers or manufacturers, are involved in formula 1. Many jobs depend on it," he explained.
One of the most coveted formula 1 jobs has hulkenberg. The emmerich man from renault continues to believe that the D site, which has produced the three world champions schumacher (7), vettel (4) and nico rosberg (1), is strong. "We are a car nation and love our cars. The interest is still there," he said. "In general, i think the public’s appetite and interest is still very much alive."
Vettel blames the decline in spectator interest in recent years on a number of fundamental decisions made by formula 1 bosses. Among other things, he complains that the rules are too tight and have made racing less attractive. The name schumacher, according to vettel, could help motorsport in germany get back on its feet. Meaning the son of the record-breaking world champion, mick.
Currently driving the 20-year-old in formula 2, before qualifying on saturday (13.05 a.M.) and before the race on sunday (12 p.M.).45 o’clock) the ferrari-zogling will sit down at the wheel of the F2004 of the scuderia and turn demo laps. In that red car, his father won his last of an unprecedented seven world championship titles in 2004. "To have mick on the threshold of formula 1 and hopefully one day to have him among us, that would be great," said vettel, "and hopefully a great boost for germany."