Feb.4 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The apparent demise of F1’s historic German grand prix is causing a stir in the country.

Although he later diluted his comments, Bernie Ecclestone triggered controversy when he told the Rheine Zeitung newspaper that Germany will not host a race in 2015.

And major dailies including Welt and Bild are reproducing the F1 supremo’s subsequent claim that the reason for the uncertainty is due to “lousy” crowds at the Nurburgring and Hockenheim.

A Nurburgring spokesman, meanwhile, said he was “surprised” when Ecclestone declared that there will be no German GP in 2015.

“What I can say,” Pietro Nuvoloni told Sport1, “is that we had a conversation with Mr Ecclestone about two weeks ago and we agreed confidentiality.

“We were a little surprised by what Mr Ecclestone said, although he did revise it three or four hours later.”

At the Jerez test on Tuesday, Mercedes’ Niki Lauda and Nico Rosberg said they hoped Ecclestone and German race organisers ultimately resolve their problems.

A Mercedes spokesman, meanwhile, told Welt: “Firstly, the German grand prix is our home race, but on the other hand it is one of the most traditional races on the formula one calendar.

“For us and for F1 it would be a great shame if it did not take place this year, but we are not responsible for the formula one calendar,” he added.

FIA president Jean Todt also said the issue is between the German circuits and Ecclestone.

“So far I can only refer to the calendar,” he told Russia’s f1news.ru, “and if you look at the championship for 2015, you will see the German grand prix.

“If there are any commercial problems, it is not the FIA but rather the commercial rights holder that should comment,” Todt added.