Photo: Daimler Global Press

Maro Engel leaves the DTM to focus on Formula E and GT Racing

Mercedes AMG driver Maro Engel has elected to leave the DTM to concentrate on his Formula E and GT campaigns for the Stuttgart-based manufacturer, vacating a second seat at Mercedes ahead of its final season in the series.

Engel’s move has been triggered because of the clashes between the DTM and Formula E calendars in 2018, with the German driver committed to Mercedes’ partner in the electric championship.

The 32-year-old returned to the DTM last year having previously competed in the series from 2008-11, and achieved a victory at Moscow on his way to 15th in the standings.

“I still had a small score to settle after my first stint in the DTM, which I was able to put right last year by taking my maiden win in Moscow,” he said. “I’m very grateful to the team for making that possible. Thank you very much to the entire team for a fantastic time. It’s a pity that the Formula E and the DTM racing calendars overlap to some extent this season.

“With an eye to the future, we decided that I would concentrate fully on Formula E and GT racing in 2018.”

Ulrich Fritz, head of DTM at Mercedes AMG, praised Engel’s efforts, and backed him for success on track during the year ahead.

“Maro was an important member of our team last season in the DTM and proved what a great racing driver he is with his win in Moscow,” he said. “This season, he is fully focused on Formula E and our customer sports programme.

“He’s an absolute all-rounder, fast in any racing car, so I know he’ll be successful again this year whether it’s in a single-seater Formula E racing car or in a GT car.

Mercedes AMG’s exit from the DTM at the end of this year has prompted some of its drivers to look for new drives, with Engel’s departure coming after Robert Wickens elected to move to the IndyCar Series.

Paul di Resta was among the candidates for a seat in F1 with Williams Racing, whilst fellow Briton Gary Paffett expressed his desire to explore Formula E after the category’s rookie tests at Marrakech a month ago.

Both are expected to remain at Mercedes for their final season in the DTM, as well as last year’s championship contender Lucas Auer.

Engel’s Formula E team-mate, Edoardo Mortara, who had a tough first season with Mercedes after leaving Audi at the end of 2016, is also expected to remain with the team.

2015 champion Pascal Wehrlein, who has lost his drive in Formula 1 with Sauber, and former Mercedes driver Daniel Juncadella, are both tipped for a return to the DTM.