DTM-Preview: First round of the season at Hockenheim.
The Mercedes-AMG DTM Team will be competing on home territory next weekend (1st – 3rd May) as the new DTM season gets underway. The Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg traditionally hosts both the season opener and the grand finale. The 4.574 km Hockenheimring boasts the fastest section of track in the whole DTM season, with cars reaching a top speed of 270kph between the Parabolica and the hairpin. The full-throttle percentage over a single lap is 64%. Seven corners are traversed at speeds of over 100kph, while the remaining four are taken at under 100kph.
Gary Paffett (34, England): “Hockenheim is a really special race for me. I’ve had a lot of success there, including 2004 when I won my first race. Since then I’ve won three times at Hockenheim. It’s a place that brings a lot of fond memories for me, so I’m really looking forward to going back there with my new team, ART.
Our aim is at least to be the best Mercedes. Where we go from there, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Paul Di Resta (29, Scotland): “After such a long winter break, it’s now time to get back to action. The team has improved greatly in the past few months, and I’m hoping that the hard work of everyone involved has paid off.”
Robert Wickens (26, Canada): “I think everyone is really anxious to see if we can turn the job that we did over the winter into some strong points finishes. I am very motivated. I know that everyone at Mercedes is motivated to have a strong 2015. Everything starts in Hockenheim.
Hopefully our hard work is going to pay off and we can score some good points and get on the podium or win.”
Christian Vietoris (26, Germany): “I’m going to Hockenheim with some positive memories. The year before last, I got my season off to a good start there with my first DTM podium. Obviously, I’m hoping for something similar this coming weekend. Overall, the past two years
have been difficult, but I’ve still given a good account of myself. We’ve done a lot of hard work over the winter, and I hope that the efforts of the entire team pay off in the end and that we have a strong season.”
Daniel Juncadella (23, Spain): “It’s a long time since I drove my last DTM race, and I’m looking forward to my third season in the DTM. We have prepared very well, and I believe that our overall package is looking much better this season. So that’s all the more reason to look forward to Hockenheim.
Hockenheim is a great track, and the new racing format also promises a lot of exciting action.”
Lucas Auer (20, Austria): “Next weekend, I’ll be competing not only in my first two races of the year but also in my first ever races in the DTM. Hockenheim has always been one of my favourite tracks. I’ve had a lot of good experiences there. Let’s see what my first DTM weekend has in store. My aim is to get up to speed as quickly as possible and then to work my way to the top of the ladder.”
Maximilian Götz (29, Germany): “My first DTM weekend is certainly going to be very exciting. Actually, I just can’t wait for it to get going. I’m already getting minor palpitations! There are a lot of new impressions and experiences waiting for me.
I will try to tackle the weekend in a focused manner and not to make mistakes. I am motivated and well prepared for my DTM debut. I’m already counting the hours until I can get in the cockpit again.”
Pascal Wehrlein (20, Germany): “Obviously, I’m looking forward to the start of the season and especially to the fact that we have two races per weekend this year. We have been working hard on our preparations over the winter. For me personally, the biggest change in comparison to last year is team communication. Everything has become far more open. In addition, this will be the first time since I arrived in the DTM that I’m competing in a team that I have already spent the previous season driving for. This will also be an advantage.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes DTM: “First and foremost, I’m delighted for the fans who will be treated to 100% more racing action with the introduction of two races per weekend in 2015. We have worked intensively over the winter to improve the performance of our cars and to restructure our team so that we can close the gap on the opposition in the upcoming season. At Hockenheim, we’ll be able to judge for the first time whether and to what extent we have succeeded. But even if we’re not quite up to the standard of our competitors yet, we will not be burying our heads in the sand: we have grown much closer together as a team over the winter months. The entire team is highly motivated, and together we will do everything we can to win races as soon as possible and to be competitive in the DTM.
Whether we can manage to do that as early as this weekend is impossible to say. Let’s wait and see how qualifying goes on Saturday. Then at the latest, all the teams will have revealed their true level of performance.”