Spectators watch the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring racing circuit in Hockenheim, southern Germany, on July 20, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ
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The glamour sport was asking itself that question after tens of thousands stayed away from a home grand prix that should have been box office gold in the land of Mercedes but instead left plenty of empty seats Sunday.The dominant Mercedes team, with championship leader Nico Rosberg triumphant, had just won their home grand prix with a German driver for the first time since the 1930s.The Sunday figure represented a 38 percent drop on the previous race at the circuit two years ago, when seven-time champion Schumacher was in the last season of his comeback with a then-uncompetitive Mercedes team.When Schumacher – the first German world champion and a four-time winner in Hockenheim – announced his comeback with Mercedes in 2010, the circuit sold 10,000 tickets straight away.Katja Heim, the circuit adviser who was involved in the race promotion, said the crowd was better than the 45,000 at the Nuerburgring last year but Hockenheim was always more popular.She blamed Vettel, and the return of the Red Bull-owned Austrian circuit which hosted its first race in 11 years in June, in part for some of the empty seats.
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