Mercedes to quit DTM after 2018, confirms Formula E entry

Mercedes has announced it will quit DTM at the end of the 2018 season, as well as confirming a Formula E entry in 2019/20.

Mercedes to quit DTM after 2018, confirms Formula E entry

The Stuttgart brand has been a core part of DTM since its relaunch in 2000, and its forthcoming departure will leave the German tin-top series with only two manufacturers, BMW and Audi, from 2019.

Mercedes, which first indicated an interest in joining Formula E last October, joins a growing list of companies to commit to an involvement in the burgeoning all-electric series, including its two DTM rivals.

"Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes," said Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

"I want to thank every team member whose fantastic work has helped to make Mercedes-Benz the most successful DTM manufacturer during that time.

"Although leaving is tough for all of us, we will be doing everything during this season and next to make sure we win as many DTM titles as possible before we go. We owe that to our fans and to ourselves."

Mercedes first joined the modern DTM's predecessor, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, in 1988, securing its first title with Klaus Ludwig in 1992.

It took further titles with Ludwig in 1994 and Bernd Schneider in 1995 before the category folded at the end of 1996 amid spiralling costs, but resumed winning ways in 2000 when the series was relaunched in its current guise.

Schneider secured a further four titles in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006, while Gary Paffett, Paul di Resta and more recently Sauber Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein have taken a title apiece for the Silver Arrows.

Its works HWA operation currently runs all six of its 2017 entries following a downscaling from eight to six cars last winter, with Paffett and di Resta joined by Lucas Auer, Edoardo Mortara, Maro Engel and Robert Wickens.

Formula E entry deferred by a year

The agreement signed by Mercedes and Formula E Holdings late last year was originally for a season five (2018/19) entry, but instead the German auto giant will make its debut in season six.

Wolff explained this was to "give us time to properly understand" Formula E and "prepare for our entry in the right way."

He also reiterated Mercedes' commitment to F1, which was bolstered by a recent extension to its long-standing title sponsorship agreement with Petronas.

"In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects. The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that," he said.

"Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies.

"Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience - and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series."

It's understood that HWA will run the Mercedes Formula E outfit in season six, and could enter the championship in season five as part of a tie-up with Venturi, which currently runs factory driver Engel.

Reaction from around the world

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag commented: "Today is a great day as we welcome Mercedes to the Formula E family - adding to the increasing number of manufacturers joining the electric revolution.

"This shows how much the world is changing, not only in motorsport, but the whole automotive industry. We’re witnessing a transformation that will first change our cities, and then our roads.

"Formula E is the championship that embodies that change, and together with all our teams and manufacturers we’ll keep pushing for technologies, to have better and more affordable electric cars.”

FIA President Jean Todt added: “I’m very happy to see yet another manufacturer committing to the FIA Formula E Championship.

“Mercedes-Benz has been competing in motorsport since the very beginning, and in joining this newest chapter of racing history - Formula E - it shows that the vision and concept of the championship is aligned with how manufacturers want to develop electric vehicle technologies, and bring these innovations to audiences around the world.”

DTM organiser, the ITR, stated: “ITR as a promoter of the DTM feels sorry about the plan of Mercedes. We have to respect the decision.

“Mercedes made this announcement with quite a margin to its eventual departure at the end of the 2018 season. Therefore, ITR has the time to analyze the situation and to develop a sustainable concept for the future.”

shares
comments
Audi shrugs off complaints over Muller's "extreme" strategy

Previous article

Audi shrugs off complaints over Muller's "extreme" strategy

Next article

Audi, BMW must "evaluate" DTM future after Mercedes exit

Audi, BMW must "evaluate" DTM future after Mercedes exit
Load comments
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Prime

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One ruleset, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race.

DTM
Oct 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000.

DTM
May 5, 2020
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit Prime

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 was the latest blow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive.

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing Prime

Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was a detractor of Formula E and held a reluctance for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. However, this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure DTM's existence as the motorsport world moves forward

DTM
Dec 13, 2019
What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020 Prime

What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020

Aston Martin's DTM arrival, via the R-Motorsport outfit, was heralded as a salvation of sorts for the series. After plenty of bumps in the road in 2019, the team finds itself in a similar position to the one it was in 12 months ago. Can it get its act together?

DTM
Dec 6, 2019
How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment Prime

How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment

The Class One 'Dream Race' staged by the DTM and SUPER GT proved a hit - from a competitive and collaborative standpoint. The next step will be for both parties to ensure a successful trial ends up being more than just that.

Super GT
Nov 29, 2019