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How ADAC will tackle team orders after taking over DTM

The ADAC wants to introduce an updated points system to tackle team orders in the DTM as it is not convinced that regulations are enough of a deterrent.

Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

Team orders have often caused controversy in the DTM, with Audi, Mercedes and BMW all being called out for favouring one or more drivers during the full-blown manufacturer era of the series.

More recently, Mercedes orchestrated a late-race swap between its three leading drivers at the Norisring season finale in 2021, allowing Maximilian Gotz to snatch an unlikely title win from Red Bull Ferrari's Liam Lawson.

Team orders were explicitly banned in the DTM in 2020 and again in 2022 in the wake of the events of the previous year’s Norisring finale, and the series’ new owner ADAC is also keen on preventing teams and manufacturers from manipulating race results.

However, the ADAC feels it needs to take more measures to ensure team orders cannot be enforced rather than relying purely on the rulebook.

"I've worked in racing teams long enough not to know that there are other ways than radio to regulate such things," ex-Abt team coordinator and current ADAC motorsport boss Thomas Voss told Autosport's sister site Motorsport-Total.com. "And as we all know, you shouldn't ban things you can't control."

The DTM currently follows a Formula 1-style scoring system, with the top 10 drivers awarded points in the following order: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. In addition, bonus points are also handed out to the fastest three drivers in each qualifying session.

While the system works well in F1 and some other championships, the DTM will feature a much larger grid with nearly 30 cars expected to compete in the championship this year.

The ADAC hopes that an updated points system may give teams and manufacturer less of an incentive to ask their drivers to make way for those sitting higher in the championship standings.

"You can't do it in such a way that the gaps at the end are so close that, as happened at the Norisring, the entire standings can be changed by shooting down your opponent," said Voss, referring to Kelvin van der Linde’s crash with Lawson’s Ferrari at the start of the 2021 Norisring finale.

Van der Linde's crash with Lawson allowed Mercedes to manipulate its cars to favour Gotz

Van der Linde's crash with Lawson allowed Mercedes to manipulate its cars to favour Gotz

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

"Of course, nobody wants team orders, stable orders or manufacturer orders. So you have to rethink the points system carefully and adapt it so that things like that don't happen.

"You have to think very carefully about what you score and what you don't score. When I think about qualifying there, for example, are there points for that, are there no points for that? What's the point distribution at the race? Or in the races? You have to take a close look at that.

ADAC’s own GT Masters series rewards points to the first 15 drivers in the following order: 25, 20,16, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

It would be logical for the DTM to adopt GT Masters' scoring system, but it remains unclear if this would affect the gaps between the leading drivers in the standings at the end of the season - and thus reduce the possibility of team orders.

"That's kind of the plan," Voss explained. "The old Formula 1 system with ten, six, four, three, two, one - and the rest go away empty-handed - certainly doesn't make sense for a series like this."

The regulations for the 2023 DTM season are yet to be finalised but it is understood that talks were held between the ADAC, Germany’s motorsport federation DMSB and DTM Racing Director Steven Stoppe.

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Voss is clear that the DTM doesn’t want teams or manufacturers to put all their weight behind one driver from the very start of the season, as was common during the Class 1 days.

"You have to prevent that at the beginning of the season someone is already locked in as champion with some manufacturer," Voss said.

“I don't think I'm talking out of the closet when I say that one or the other has tried that again and again.

Clemens Schmid, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3, Mirko Bortolotti, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3

Clemens Schmid, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3, Mirko Bortolotti, Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

“I want to make sure everyone gets equal opportunities from the start. Then over the course of the season, it prohibits games like this from being played."

That said, Voss is aware that it will be impossible to completely get rid of team orders in the DTM, as manufacturers and their squads can always find ways to manipulate results without coming under suspicion.

"You won't be able to completely prevent it, I'm personally convinced of that, even if others say otherwise,” he said.

“I can write that down on paper 3,000 times and penalise it, but if someone doesn't say on the radio, 'Rubens, let him pass for the championship,' then it will be difficult to prove it, “ he added, referring to Ferrari infamously asking Barrichello to let Michael Schumacher through into the lead on the final lap of the 2002 Austrian GP.

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