Bernie Ecclestone's familiar paddock motor home with its blacked-out windows was in the Hockenheim paddock, but the F1 chief executive did not show.
The Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper said it is "not known" if the 81-year-old feared being arrested for corruption by German police.
What is known is that, even until the eleventh hour of the weekend's German grand prix, the diminutive Briton was widely expected to be in the country.
For example, Nurburgring officials Jorg Lindner and Kai Richter had travelled to Hockenheim specifically to meet with Ecclestone to discuss their circuit's crisis.
"They waited and waited, but Bernie did not come," a correspondent for Suddeutsche newspaper said.
Jailed F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky's lawyer Daniel Amelung said it is obvious Ecclestone got "cold feet" about risking German custody by making the trip from London.