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DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters)

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A group for fans of the DTM.

Robert Wickens and Roberto Merhi join Mercedes

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of matt90 matt90 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #131200
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    Just as it says in the title:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/98556

    As we’ve seen in the past, both Robert Wickens and Roberto Merhi have been pretty competitive in their respective series, but their careers have been stymied by a lack of sponsor dollars. With Mercedes having supported Michael Schumacher (who will mentor Wickens) early in his career, and promoting Paul di Resta from DTM to Formula 1, I wonder if they are planning the same with Wickens and/or Merhi (and/or Vietoris) …

    #198442
    Avatar of raymondu999
    raymondu999
    Participant

    it’s difficult to say really. Single seater and tin top racing are very different to each other; and the driving and racing styles are very different.

    #198443
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    Single seater and tin top racing are very different to each other; and the driving and racing styles are very different.

    I’m aware of that. It didn’t stop Paul di Resta, though. He won the 2006 F3 Euroseries, then did four years in DTM and joined Force India.

    Then you’ve got Robert Wickens, who started out in open-wheelers and won Formula Renault 3.5 and came second in GP3 and Formula Two (and third in Champ Car Atlantic – he’s had success in practically every category he’s raced in), before joining Mercedes’ DTM effort.

    Likewise Roberto Merhi, who won the F3 Euroseries last year, and had a few podiums in GP3.

    I think that with Paul di Resta, Mercedes have proven that a driver can successfully move from touring cars to Formula 1, and that they are now accelerating their driver development programmes to get the likes of Wickens and Merhi into the sport.

    #198444
    Avatar of Joel Holland
    Joel Holland
    Participant

    It’s also possible that Mercedes want good drivers for their DTM programme because they care about the marketing value of that programme. F1 doesn’t necessarily come into it. They’re not even confirmed as staying in F1 long-term, where as DTM – especially with BMW joining – is a huge commitment for them. So maybe they’ve just hired these two because they’re top-level racing drivers? Merc aren’t exactly short of F1 options anyway, with their current pair, the Force India drivers and that Vettel bloke they’d give ANYTHING to get into one of their cars.

    #198445
    Avatar of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    @jholland – Maybe, but I don’t think Wickens and Merhi would give up on Formula 1 too quickly. Especially Wickens; he obviously has talent, and he’s being “mentored” by Schumacher. Mercedes’ long-term plans for Formula 1 might be uncertain for now, but if they do commit to the future of the sport, then Robert Wickens is certainly someone I would want in my corner if I were them. He’d probably be a viable replacement for anyone in the Mercedes family – Schumacher, Rosberg, di Resta – if they retired or joined another team.

    And it certainly helps that the DTM regulations have changed for 2012, so everyone will have a brand-new car this year. If Wickens makes a case for himself, I would not be surprised to see him in Formula 1 in next season.

    #198446
    Avatar of matt90
    matt90
    Participant

    Certainly seems like Mercedes might be both strengthening their DTM side and using it as a training platform for drivers to move into F1- after all, Wickens single seater success would be enough to justify giving an F1 seat now if there was room for him. It seems like DTM might be a way of shelving drivers with potential who don’t quite have a way to an F1 seat yet, while giving them that little extra guidance they might need. After all, unlike Red Bull and Lotus in particular they don’t have teams for their drivers in every conceivable series, so seem to be tailoring their DTM team a little to their more global needs. I hope Wickens in particular becomes a Di Resta and not a Paffett.

    #198447
    Avatar of raymondu999
    raymondu999
    Participant

    @prisoner-monkeys

    I’m aware of that. It didn’t stop Paul di Resta, though. He won the 2006 F3 Euroseries, then did four years in DTM and joined Force India.

    Then you’ve got Robert Wickens, who started out in open-wheelers and won Formula Renault 3.5 and came second in GP3 and Formula Two (and third in Champ Car Atlantic – he’s had success in practically every category he’s raced in), before joining Mercedes’ DTM effort.

    I know – in fact that was exactly the point I was trying to bring across. Success in open-wheel series doesn’t mean success in tin-tops; and vice versa. I’m well aware of Wickens’ and Di Resta’s careers.

    @matt90 won’t be the best way of bringing them through though – you’d be getting them used to one type of racing/driving which then won’t be relevant in F1.

    #198448
    Avatar of matt90
    matt90
    Participant

    @raymondu999
    You’re right about it not being the best, but I mean that it might be the best available, particularly if they are then given the occasional Friday practices in F1 too (with either Mercedes or Force India).

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