Hulkenberg Claims F1’s Image Suffers in Germany Due to Climate Change Concerns

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While Formula 1 has been enjoying a surge in global popularity thanks to its expansion on social media and the hit Netflix series, “Drive to Survive,” this growth hasn’t been uniform in all countries.

Germany stands out as an exception, where the sport’s popularity seems to have hit a plateau. The country hasn’t seen a Formula 1 race since the Eifel Grand Prix at Nurburgring in 2020. Additionally, iconic world champion racers such as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Rosberg have all retired from competition.

Complicating the situation further is the shift from free broadcasting to Pay TV, which has undoubtedly put a ceiling on potential viewership in Germany.

Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, Germany’s sole representative in F1 following Vettel’s retirement last year, believes that there are many factors responsible for the decline in audience numbers. These include not only changes in broadcasting but also a growing consciousness about environmental issues.

“In the past 30 years or so, Germany’s racing scene was enriched by Michael, Sebastian, and Rosberg,” Hulkenberg explained. “Plus, Mercedes has maintained a robust presence in F1.”

He added that the sport’s popularity naturally fluctuates, but in Germany, the broader perception that the automotive industry contributes to climate change and lacks sustainability appears to affect motorsports negatively.

Hulkenberg’s concerns are illustrated in a moment from a race where Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing leads a group including Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Alexander Albon, Lewis Hamilton, and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Photo by: Steven Tee / F1 Flow Images

Hulkenberg further stated, “I believe the negative portrayal of the industry by politicians and public perception has adversely impacted racing and F1 in Germany.”

Even though enthusiasm in Germany is currently tepid, the upcoming entry of Audi’s works team in 2026 might revive interest.

Additionally, F1’s owners, Liberty Media, are contemplating ways to bring the German Grand Prix back to the calendar. A rotational event with other venues is among the considerations.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali expressed optimism about a German GP return in 2022, stating, “We truly hope Germany will rejoin the discussions, but the prerequisites for the Grand Prix must be clarified first. Hopefully, a different situation that can facilitate dialogue with us will materialize soon.”

For Hulkenberg, the reintroduction of a German GP wouldn’t significantly impact his career, and he doesn’t foresee it happening in the near future. “I wouldn’t oppose it, but it wouldn’t affect me,” he clarified. “I don’t see it happening, though perhaps some behind-the-scenes efforts are being made.”

Additional insights provided by Filip Cleeren.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Germany

Why has F1’s popularity stalled in Germany?

The popularity of F1 has stalled in Germany due to several factors, including the nation’s growing environmental concerns linking the automotive industry to climate change. Additionally, the retirement of iconic racers like Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Rosberg, the shift from free-to-air television to Pay TV, and the absence of hosting an F1 race since 2020 have contributed to the decline.

What did Hulkenberg say about the presence of a German GP?

Hulkenberg expressed that while he wouldn’t be against the reintroduction of a German GP, it wouldn’t make a difference for his career, and he doesn’t expect it to happen any time soon.

Is there any hope for the revival of F1 in Germany?

Yes, there are signs of potential revival. The upcoming entry of Audi’s works team in 2026 could spark excitement, and F1 owners Liberty Media are considering plans to bring the German Grand Prix back on the calendar, possibly as a rotational event with other venues.

How has the transition to Pay TV affected F1’s viewership in Germany?

The transition from free-to-air television to Pay TV has put a cap on potential viewership in Germany, contributing to the stalling of F1’s popularity in the country.

Who is Germany’s only F1 driver after Vettel’s retirement?

Nico Hulkenberg is Germany’s sole representative in F1 following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement at the end of last year.

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KevinInGermany August 13, 2023 - 10:40 am

Can’t wait for Audi’s entry in 2026, that might bring back the hype here. Not having German GP is just sad for us fans here.

F1Enthusiast98 August 13, 2023 - 4:23 pm

why Pay TV? so many people can’t watch now. It’s like they don’t want us to enjoy the sport anymore…

GreenActivist07 August 13, 2023 - 11:48 pm

the link between auto industry and climate change is more than perception. F1 needs to do more for sustainability or loose fans like me.

James42 August 14, 2023 - 3:41 am

can’t believe they haven’t had a race in Germany since 2020. love F1 but climate change is real issue, got to take it serious!


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