Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 would be “stupid” if it lost some of its historic venues in order to make a greater profit from new races.
The German Grand Prix signed a one-off contract for this season with Mercedes-Benz as title sponsor, and a large, enthusiastic crowd (pictured) saw a thrilling race won by Max Verstappen last Sunday. Vettel climbed through from 20th on the grid to finish second at his home circuit — to the delight of a large number of vocal fans — and says he hopes there is a way to keep the race on the calendar.
“I know the people (at Hockenheim) very well, and they are putting a lot of effort in, a lot of passion, and they’re very keen on staying, having the grand prix here,” Vettel said. “It’s a great show. I don’t think they make any money; I think they lost money last year and thanks to Mercedes they were able to have the grand prix again.
“So I don’t know what is the negotiation for next year and how much more money they would need. The problem is Germany is not keen to pay anything. So you need people from outside, investors, because the government is not happy to support — unlike in the Netherlands or other places we go.”
Vettel says F1 needs to retain races in places like Germany, Italy and Spain, with all three currently in the final year of their contract and not guaranteed a place on the 2020 schedule.
“I think the way they run their business is based on how much people pay and then you get a grand prix. I think it’s important we don’t lose certain grand prix, irrelevant of what they pay. I think Formula 1 without Monza would be stupid. Losing big countries like Germany, we’ve been to Spain many years — I think it’s wrong, but I’m not deciding.
“People always want to make money and profit so it doesn’t help if tracks pay less than others but I think it’s important to bring the sport where there’s passion for the sport, so keep countries like Germany on the calendar, or the UK, those iconic places. That would be my take on it.
“I think it’s more fun for us also to drive in front of a lot of people rather than empty grandstands, even if they are equipped with new seats — they are useless if there’s no one sitting on them.”