DUMBFOUNDED : Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was at a loss to explain why Formula 1 was not as popular as it once was in his native Germany. Image: AFP / John Thys
Berlin, Germany - Sebastian Vettel says the declining interest in Formula 1 of his home nation Germany is "a mystery".
His comments follow the popular return after more than two decades of the grand prix in Mexico City, where a more-than-capacity 134 000 exuberant fans turned the post-race podium celebrations on Sunday (November 1) into an unprecedented spectacle.
Well-attended Mexican GP
F1 legend Niki Lauda said: "In terms of the organisation and the fans, it's the best race I've ever seen."
Germany's Welt newspaper, meanwhile, cited race organisers in declaring that 300 000 tickets for the Mexican race could have been sold if the renovated track could accommodate them.
It is believed more grandstands will be built for 2016.
It is all in stark contrast to the beleaguered German GP, which fell off the calendar in 2015 amid sharply declining local interest.
Hockenheim is returning in 2016, but the promoter is scrambling to merely break even, and the future is clouded.
"Tickets are too expensive"
Four-time world champion and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said: "Maybe the fans are a little tired (of F1), or perhaps the tickets are too expensive.
"Honestly I don't know what's wrong. It's a mystery."
High ticket prices is surely not the answer, as the Mexicans paid only slightly less than the Germans, despite Mexico's 46% poverty rate.
Vettel added: "I think I saw more German flags in Mexico than I do in Germany.
The German told Bild newspaper: "In the past the races in Germany were great, but not for the past few years.
"It's a pity to see fewer and fewer Germans come to the races, even though German drivers are fighting for victories. It doesn't get better than that!
Vettel added: "Other countries show us that people in general still have passion for this sport."