Criticism of the DTM: Concessions as a beginning of the end?
Norbert Haug and Mercedes DTM Race Director Ulrich Fritz analyse the situation in Germany’s top touring car series: price-performance ratio is not right
With 18 cars from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, the DTM will enter the 2018 season in a proven line-up. Adjustments to the regulations should ensure that drivers are given more prominence, that sport becomes even more spectacular and overtaking is made easier. All participants promise an exciting motorsport year in the DTM. Above the scene hovers a Damocles sword: Mercedes says goodbye at the end of the year.
“As with all entrepreneurial decisions, it’s all about a well-functioning price-performance ratio in factory sports,” explains Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz in the current motorsport special edition of the’ Kicker’. Of course, such a decision like leaving the DTM is emotionally sad and also a pity, as much as I can understand it on the other hand.”.
“We also have to take a look in the rearview mirror and then realize that for years, perhaps even decades, we have not been able to give the DTM the relevance that such a series deserves,” explains Fritz and thus clearly speaks out of his Mercedes predecessor’s soul.
Urgent appeal: Rules must be the same for all
“One has to say quite plainly: Mercedes did not make this decision easy for itself and does not make it easy for itself, but has taken it because the price/performance ratio has no longer fitted,”Ulrich Fritz clarifies. Where’s the catch? At a high price or a lack of performance? The stage DTM is still considered good by many scene experts. However, costs have risen considerably over the past ten years or so.
“In the phase of my departure from the DTM, a kind of rearmament has begun which did not pay off in the end. They were forced to build a new car, there were special classifications of vehicles, and I think it is the highest good of the DTM that the regulations are the same for everyone. The fact that parts of this were modified was certainly not a good thing,”says Norbert Haug,”I had always fought very hard not to have any ranking weights. Their reintroduction was a mistake.”
“And if the winner also gets a weight reduction, you can’t even explain this to the DTM expert,”says the previous ARD-DTM expert, openly addressing the problems. Last year, the performance weights of the construction site were elaborately and protracted. With success: ITR boss Gerhard Berger has won through with his desire for complete abolition. No further concessions in the area of performance must now be made, Fritz and Haug say.
Don’t forget, there was also a Lex Mercedes.
“It is extremely competitive and no one likes to give victories at the green table. To this day, the frustrating thing about the 2016 season is that in the end, someone who had received negotiated benefits at the table won,”says Ulrich Fritz. What the Mercedes owner means:”Only with the so-called” Lex BMW “was Marco Wittmann able to win his second DTM title, which has certainly not made the series credible,”says Fritz.
“If six out of 18 cars are dropped by the end of 2018, this is not an easy situation. I know from experience how difficult it is to save the DTMs,”says Norbert Haug, who fought to keep the scene going from 2006 to 2011 every year. At that time, only Audi and Mercedes were engaged. The DTM 2019 threatens a similar scenario with only two manufacturers. No newcomer has been found yet. Time is running out on the person in charge.
“It would really be an unbelievable shame if it would not be possible to continue the DTM. This cannot be described dramatically enough,”says Haug. The 65-year-old is passionate about the DTM:”As a national series with great international appeal, it is the second best behind Formula 1. Sometimes in Germany we are also specialists in down-talking. And it is time for many contemporaries to criticize everything that revolves around the topic of cars. However, if my wireless network would work as well as my cars, one of my problems would be solved.”
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