Photo: Mercedes

DTM open to allow independent Mercedes teams for 2019

Gerhard Berger, chairman of DTM promoter ITR, has expressed his desire to open the championship to non-manufacturer-backed entries in order to bump the number of entries and sustain the future of the series.

Mercedes AMG announced last year their withdrawal from the DTM, leaving at the end of the 2018 season. This means that there will only be two manufacturers involved from 2019, namely BMW and Audi.

Faced with so far unsuccessful approach to find a third manufacturer, Berger has suggested an alternative about shifting the series from only manufacturer-based championship to also allowing independent entries concept. This would open the door for HWA, the team that runs Mercedes’ programme this year, to stay.

“A fully manufacturer-based system, as we have currently, is not good, and the participating manufacturers are aware of that,” Berger told the German press agency DPA. “If HWA needs other projects, the option of continuing to run DTM cars would be a nice solution. No other company has more experience and expertise in the DTM than HWA.”

Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff, a former HWA shareholder, wouldn’t object to the idea as long as the HWA-run cars bear no Mercedes branding. “We have decided against the DTM as a platform, and that’s the way it is,” said Wolff to Motorsport. “However, should HWA find a partner with whom it would like to remain in the DTM as an independent operation, we would not put any obstacles in its way.”

The DTM organisation introduced changed technical regulations for the 2017 season, starting a new three-year homologation cycle, including changes to the chassis according to the new Class One regulations that were jointly drafted by DTM and the Japanese Super GT to create new worldwide touring car regulations.

Only the engines, which are planned to change from the current four-litre V8 to two-litre four-cylinder units, remain to be introduced. These were planned to have made their appearance in the DTM last year, but Mercedes delayed their incorporation until 2019.

“The cars exist, only the engine changes in 2019,” added Berger. “Sponsors would have to be found to finance it, but that would be feasible.”