Quick Chat: Uli Fritz
Uli, the 2016 season has come to an end. How would you sum it up?
Ulrich Fritz: 'It was certainly a season of mixed feelings. Although we didn't win any of the titles, I'm incredibly proud of the team's performance. This year, we sent our Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM into action with its new contours, but we were not allowed to change anything below the design line. To prepare a competitive car under these constraints was a Herculean task with which the team coped incredibly well. Looking at the weight-adjusted times over the season, we actually had the fastest vehicle in the field on many of the tracks.'
What was the highlight of your season?
Ulrich Fritz: 'In addition to the team performance, which I've already mentioned, and our car, I would single out the two races in Moscow, the Saturday race at Zandvoort and the victory for Lucas at the Lausitzring. Moscow and Zandvoort were both tracks where we have never looked particularly good in the past. But then you get this quadruple victory in Moscow under difficult conditions in the rain - that was really satisfying. The win for Lucas at the Lausitzring was definitely one of the most emotional moments. It was also a maiden victory for Peter Mücke and his team in the DTM. It was fabulous to see how happy the guys were.'
Why did you miss out on all of the titles this year?
Ulrich Fritz: 'Of course, a lot of different factors always play a role here. Maybe it was just one of those years when luck was not on our side. Rob lost a lot of points at the Norisring and Zandvoort through no fault of his own. Nevertheless, we were in a good position right up to the Nürburgring. But there, the difference between our cars was simply too big. Lucas secured pole for both races, but the others couldn't match him for pace. When we were then obliged to carry the performance weights, it was clear to us that we would come away from Budapest empty-handed, and that's the way it turned out. Basically, it was down to a string of unfortunate coincidences. But when I see how motivated the team remains in spite of all these setbacks and how much they are already looking forward to the new season, I am confident that we will come back even stronger next year. A perfect example of our teammorale was the last race in Hockenheim. On Saturday, we were nowhere, and yet the guys managed overnight to prepare a car for our drivers with which they were able to score a double podium. Hats off to them, I say.'