Mercedes will wait until the end of the DTM season before deciding whether to expand back to an eight-car line-up next year.
The German manufacturer scaled back its assault for 2013 to six C-coupes as Toto Wolff replaced Norbert Haug as head of its motorsport activities. Rival manufacturer BMW took a clean sweep of all last year’s titles with a six-car line-up, but has expanded to eight this year. Audi also runs eight cars in the series.
When asked about the number of machines Mercedes plans to field next year, Wolff said: “My philosophy for this year was to have every car competitive.
“Last year, with eight cars, that was not the case. We are now achieving with six cars what was not possible with eight. Also, eight cars has to provide a financially viable model, and you don’t want to compromise your drivers’ performances because the resources are stretched too thin.
“We also have a great team spirit here at the moment. If we can keep these three things at a high level, then we might increase to eight cars. But there will be no decision until after the season final.”
Mercedes has won twice this year with HWA drivers Gary Paffett and Robert Wickens taking a victory apiece, while their team-mate Christian Vietoris lies second in the championship, despite having not won. However, this compares to three victories at the same point last season. Mercedes is currently second in the manufacturers’ standings on 229 points while at the same point in 2012 it led on 256.
Wolff denied that this was a problem and pointed to the strong rookie campaigns of Formula 3 graduates Pascal Wehrlein and Daniel Juncadella as reason to be optimistic for the future. I’d rather compromise short-term results for a long-term benefit,” he added. “Our F3 drivers are doing very well.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll always sign 20-year-olds for our cars and it doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t look at a Formula 1 driver or a driver from a rival manufacturer. It’s about striking the right balance.”
MORTARA TALKS DENIED
Wolff denied paddock rumours that talks with Audi driver Edoardo Mortara had taken place regarding a Mercedes drive next year.
Mortara, who was Audi’s only race winner in 2012, has had a disastrous season, taking only one points finish despite qualifying inside the top 10 for five of the seven races held and making the Q4 pole shootout three times.
“We haven’t had any talks,” Wolff said. “It’s normal that you look at the very good guys in the DTM. Everyone is quite aware who is good in the DTM and who is not. It’s far too early to discuss our 2013 driver line-up.”