Waking up those muscles
Let's get the new DTM season started! The six Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers prepared for the task that will face them during their thirtieth anniversary DTM season with their traditional fitness week at La Manga, Spain, 12th -16th February. This is going to be a very special year for the drivers and team, because it is exactly 30 years since the brand with the three-pointed star embarked on its first DTM season, fielding a works team.
'It's been a good week with some tough training sessions,' said Team Captain Gary Paffett. 'It was nice to do a lot of team sports to bring the team even closer together and get the drivers really working as one. After all, we haven't seen each other much over the winter.' Gary thinks that the traditional fitness week at La Manga is a good way to get the season unofficially started. 'It was nice too that some of the engineers and members of the strategy team were able to be present, even though we nearly destroyed them on the run up the hill! But it was good that they hung on in there and got stuck in. We all had a great time together.'
An important part of this week's programme was, of course, the exercises, ranging from mountain biking, tennis, football and Pilates to martial arts and stand-up paddling. The schedule was punctuated by the compulsory medical check-ups and meetings about the upcoming DTM season. But there were also plenty of other things to do, such as sitting down to have dinner as a team or to watch a movie together to further improve team spirits which were already excellent to begin with.
'We work in perfect harmony as a group,' said Lucas Auer. 'The highlight for me was the stand-up paddling in the sea, which was incredibly difficult and the best training session in my opinion. Everything was really great and we had some nice weather too in Spain. It could hardly have been better.' Daniel Juncadella felt the same. He obviously enjoyed the training camp in his home country. 'It was great to be back here in La Manga,' said Daniel. 'It's just a great place to work out.'
Paul Di Resta also enjoyed getting the last season in the DTM under way for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. 'It was great to get the old body moving and flex our muscles again after the winter break,' said Paul. 'The focus was on team work, but that's now about to be followed by the bit we all like best, getting back behind the wheel! It's what I'm looking forward to most.'
Paul is, of course, not alone in that. Edoardo Mortara is also ready for the upcoming season after his second fitness camp with the team at La Manga. 'I love the fitness week,' he said. 'We had a lot of fun mountain biking, playing football and stand-up paddling. Also, the weather was really good, not too hot and not too cold.'
Pascal Wehrlein is returning to the DTM this season after his two years in Formula 1. He got the chance to see his team-mates at La Manga for the first time since announcing his comeback. 'It was terrific fun, and everyone was really pleased to see me again,' said Pascal, who also really enjoyed the stand-up paddling. 'Although at just ten degrees, the water was a bit cold for this time of year,' he added with a smile. 'It was also good that some of our engineers were here and we were able to discuss our approach for this season, since we all share the same goal, we want to have an excellent season and this week was a good way to get things started.'
The Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz could only echo his sentiments: 'The fitness camp at La Manga has become a much-loved tradition for all of us in recent years,' he said. 'Of course, the focus is on getting physically prepared for a tough season, but our time together in Spain should also serve to strengthen the team's feeling of solidarity, and that proved to be the case once again this year. Our two returnees, Dani and Pascal, slotted straight back in and team spirits are exceptionally high - even before we get started on our final DTM season - and we can't wait to go on to the next stage of preparing for the season ahead with the first test drives.'