Audi boss Dieter Gass backs Mortara on slow zone penalty criticism

Audi’s DTM head Dieter Gass has backed driver Edoardo Mortara’s criticism of the controversial penalty in Zandvoort earlier this year, stating that they would certainly have won all three titles if it had not occurred.

Mortara took his fifth victory of the season at the Hockenheim circuit on Sunday in a highly competitive season which saw ten different winners in the 18 races, but Gass and Mortara both focussed on the drive-through penalty in July at the Dutch Zandvoort circuit as a moment which overshadowed a great season for the Italian.

“These championships and victory have a bitter taste for us,” said Gass. “There were times this year when we lost key results, but we should have won all three titles.”

“Zandvoort should have been a result for us. Edo should have been able to score those ten points and, in time, win the championship.”

Mortara, and Audi team-mate Nico Müller, were both handed drive-through penalties in the first race of the weekend for speeding in the slow zone, the DTM’s version of Formula 1’s virtual safety car, with which there was no right of appeal.

However, subsequent analysis proved that neither driver had violated the slow zone, and race officials suspended any further slow zone penalties until the technical issues could be resolved.

“The thing is that Edo was the strongest driver this year, he had five victories and should be the champion,” added Gass. “The ten points unfairly lost in Zandvoort would have given him the advantage he needed. It’s not a question of Edo losing the title because of ifs and buts, but rather a mathematical one, as he had the results on his own right.”

“But we have to also look at the fact that we had the strongest car, and we won ten races in total, so it was a good year for Audi Sport.”