QUICK CHAT: Uli Fritz
Uli, the manufacturers' championship has been won, the team title is destined for one or other of the Mercedes outfits, and yet there were few happy faces to be seen at Spielberg.
Ulrich Fritz: We were of course all delighted to have secured those two titles. But the most important trophy in the DTM is the drivers' title. Unfortunately, we lost ground in the battle for this one. It was partly due to the fact that Audi have been getting stronger in recent races, but also to some extent because of our own performance. But such setbacks are part of the sport. I would also expressly warn everyone against talking the team's prospects down or getting into any sort of negative spiral. If you look at the manufacturers' standings, it has to be said that we have been dominant this year. At Spielberg too, we were on pole twice and at least got onto the podium. In Paul and Gary, we have two Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers occupying the first two positions in the championship table. We'll be going to Hockenheim leading on points, and you cannot do that in the DTM if there is something not working in the team.
There was a lot of debate in social networks at the weekend about the Audi tactics, but also about your pit stops.
Ulrich Fritz: Let's start with Audi. I can understand that the fans weren't enthusiastic. Nor were we. On the other hand, tactics of this kind are also part and parcel of the DTM. We gave similar support to Pascal in his 2015 title bid. I think it's important to be open about it. We did that in 2015, and Audi did the same at the weekend. At the end of the day, the DTM is a team sport like any other. Now I'll say something about our pit stops. It obviously doesn't look good when a pit stop goes wrong, and unfortunately that's been happening to us too often recently. What I find unacceptable is that people have a go at the crew on social networks, especially when it's clear that we didn't lose the race on Sunday in the pits but because we simply did not have the pace of the two Audis. The whole team is practising really hard, and everyone is doing their best. What they need now is the support of our fans. We as a team are definitely behind them.
What are your expectations for Hockenheim?
Ulrich Fritz: That we will once again be looking to our strengths and shaking off negative vibes. Apart from that, we will continue to be focused on our work as before. We want to pull off the treble - and that includes the drivers' title. There can be no doubting our intentions.