Hülkenberg on why F1 is lacking popularity in Germany: “I think it’s a few things”

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Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg has shared his opinion of F1’s perception in Germany and why the sport is lacking in popularity within the nation.

Formula 1 hasn’t visited Germany since the Eifel Grand Prix at Nurburgring in 2020, while the German Grand Prix has failed to cement a spot on the calendar since 2019.

Hülkenberg remains the only German driver on the F1 grid and delved into why Germany has struggled to captivate the series’ increasingly young audience, as well as the impact of climate change.

“Naturally, sometimes the sport is more popular and in higher demand, and then naturally, it tails off sometimes. But then also, in Germany, the perception of the car automotive industry is responsible for climate change. It’s not sustainable.

“And that rubs off into motorsport. And that’s why the perception and what politics tell the people is that this is bad and has a negative impact on racing and Formula 1 too.”

Germany has enjoyed a rich history in Formula 1 since the early 1990s, producing world champions Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. Schumacher in particular was idolised by Germans and the grandstands would be packed at the Nurburgring and Hockenheim when he raced for Benetton and Ferrari.

Despite this group of elite drivers, Formula 1 has declined big style in Germany, while the United States hosts three races in 2023.

German giant Mercedes has been at the forefront of F1, winning eight consecutive constructors titles from 2014-2021 and offered to help save the event in 2015.

Hülkenberg said: “I think it’s a few things [why Formula 1 is less popular than before in Germany], Germans or Germany was always spoiled in racing with Michael [Schumacher], then with Sebastian [Vettel], [Nico] Rosberg, and Mercedes. We’ve always had a very strong presence in Formula 1, at least the last 30 years or so.”

Nico Hulkenberg driving his red and white number 27 Haas car.
Photo credit: Haas F1 Team

The 35-year-old does not expect a return of Germany to the schedule but would like to see it happen.

“I wouldn’t be against it. Of course, I liked all the racing in Germany. No, it wouldn’t make a difference to me, and I don’t expect it to happen, but I’m not behind the scenes there. I don’t know, maybe some people are trying to pull some strings, but I don’t know.”

The Haas driver explained that he isn’t worried about the lack of a Grand Prix in Germany and conceded that the sport was more popular there in the past.

“Not concerned about it, but it’s a fact that F1 is not so popular, so booming right now. And it’s had times where it was much more present in Germany, much more well received. So, that’s the true observation.”