Quick Chat: Uli Fritz
Uli, more than half of the season is now over after the race weekend in Zandvoort. What conclusions have you reached in general?
Ulrich Fritz: 'I think that the first half of the season was an emotional roller-coaster. One thing is definitely certain, though, our new car is always good for a surprise - both in a positive way as just now in Zandvoort and in a not so good way like at Spielberg. We are, however, delighted that our drivers have done a good job so far and that in Robert and Paul and maybe even Gary and Chris, we have four drivers, who can fight for the championship. One of the emotional highlights has to be seeing Mücke Motorsport and Lucas Auer take their maiden DTM victory at the Lausitzring. The Norisring weekend and the Sunday at Zandvoort stick in the memory in a negative way, even though we lost vital points in the battle for the title for entirely different reasons in the three races. It will certainly take a good few days to get over Zandvoort.'
What do you think of the drivers' demeanour in the media and what they've been saying? Their general tone is very different to earlier. Do you agree with what's going on at the moment?
Ulrich Fritz: 'Well, it's like this. You cannot stand up in front of the guys before the start of the season and tell them that they can publicly express their opinions and are welcome to even show a bit of an edge but then start back-pedalling at the first sign of trouble. That not only makes you look like you can't be trusted but also unsettles the drivers. They then no longer know how to behave. I've already said at the Norisring that Chris will not get the Nobel prize from me for what he said about Eki, but I can also understand why he reacted so vehemently. And when you look later at the comments on social media, then you can also see how positively people respond to a driver so openly giving vent to his emotional state. We all want to see human beings and not robots at the wheel.
With regard to the standings, what goals have you identified as a team for the season at this half-way stage?
Ulrich Fritz: 'There can only be one goal, to become champions. If the Gods had been a bit more on our side in the races, then Rob would still be at the top of the table. However, Marco Wittmann seems to have a better connection with the Good Lord at the moment, but the tide can quickly turn, as we've seen in the season so far. Pascal was 17 points down on the leader at this time last year and yet won the championship by 19 points. Robert is currently 22 points behind Marco. All is not yet lost. I think that it won't be until the final two race weekends that the number of favourites is narrowed down to four or five drivers. I hope that we'll still have two or three irons in the fire at that point. In any case, we will definitely continue to push.'