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Schumi's home party not sold out
Patrick Vignal | July 23, 2004 17:39 IST
Hundreds of tickets remained available for Sunday's German Grand Prix, primarily because of high prices and Michael Schumacher's domination this year, though organisers remain optimistic on Friday they could match last year's attendance figures.
"Sales have been picking up in the last few weeks and we are relatively satisfied," said track spokesman Hartmut Tesseraux. "The enthusiasm remains the same. Hockenheim is a very special occasion."
It is unlikely, however, that the 120,000 seats in the huge Motordrome would be filled for Sunday's race and organisers would be pleased if they could match last year's figure of 103,000 spectators.
The other German event on the calendar, the European Grand Prix at Nuerburgring, experienced similar difficulties in May, when only 106,000 fans witnessed Schumacher's triumph while the venue could have held 150,000.
With no tickets available for less than 125 euros and a good seat costing 370 euros, fans think twice before going to a race that Schumacher is widely expected to win.
The six-times world champion has won 10 of the 11 races held so far this season and needs just one more win to equal his record of 11 in one season set in 2002.
Schumacher's Ferrari team could also secure the constructors' title on Sunday, providing they score 13 more points than their nearest rivals, Renault.
"This race is always a highlight for me," said Schumacher, who became the first German to win the race in 1995 and triumphed again here two years ago.
"I get goose pimples when I think about the atmosphere. The constructors' title would be the icing on the cake."
Even if a few seats will be empty, thousands of supporters, many sporting Ferrari red outfits, will brave stifling heat to watch the race.
Last year 250,000 fans visited over the three days of action, swallowing 8,000 litres of beer and eating 12,000 sausages.
"We know what will happen but that doesn't mean we will not have fun," said Kurt Schnauzer, a 43-year-old Schumacher fan who comes every year with his family, staying at one of the seven campsites bordering the track.
"The question is not whether Schumi will win it," he added, holding a beer can in his hand at breakfast time on Friday.
"It's how he will do it."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage