Bernie Ecclestone suggests Formula 1 has suffered in Germany because local drivers Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel are not so popular with fans.
The German Grand Prix will be absent from the calendar this year, with neither the Nurburgring nor Hockenheim willing to pay what was demanded as a race hosting fee.
And in a revealing interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ecclestone reckons that it is Rosberg and Vettel's personalities that have contributed to the fall in audiences in their home country.
Referring to the huge fanbase that Rosberg's team-mate Lewis Hamilton has behind him, Ecclestone said: “When it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport.
"From a pure business aspect - sorry Nico if I have to say this - you are not so good for my business.”
When accused by Rosberg of his comments being a 'hard call', Ecclestone replied: “It sounds harder than it is meant. Unfortunately you don’t have the German fans on your side.
“As the cancellation of the German Grand Prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for Formula 1.
"On the contrary Lewis is a hero in the UK. The British love Formula 1. Sebastian [Vettel] is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street.”
Team bosses must do more
Ecclestone's criticisms were not just restricted to Rosberg though, for he suggested team principals needed to do more to promote themselves and the sport.
"The team principals should be more prominent,” he said. “Take away Toto Wolff’s Mercedes shirt and send him down a street - nobody would recognize him.”
When asked if he felt new Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was a good character, Ecclestone said: “Only for himself and not for Formula 1.”