Mercedes DTM drivers expect 2018 aero changes to boost prospects

Mercedes drivers expect revised aerodynamic regulations to boost the manufacturer's prospects in the DTM this year, after a disappointing 2017 season

Mercedes DTM drivers expect 2018 aero changes to boost prospects

Lucas Auer led the standings during the early part of 2017 for Mercedes, but the manufacturer's chances were hampered by the removal of performance weights with two rounds to go and it gradually slipped out of the title fight, with Auer its highest-ranked driver in the final standings in sixth.

The series has moved to reduce downforce by around a third this season, which includes a reduction in both the number and size of the front aero flicks and the removal of the side endplate among other alterations.

As a result, DTM stalwart Gary Paffett said Mercedes' mood has been lifted ahead of the marque's final year in the series.

"Over the past five years Audi has had better aerodynamics," the 2005 champion told Autosport.

"Every year you could only be amazed when they presented their design. The details of the Audi cars were always incredible.

"It costs a lot of money to be so unbelievable - and a lot of time.

"Compensating for the aerodynamics race is the best thing that could have happened to the series.

"We feel that BMW has the better engine - which is logical because it's the latest model.

"Each team is a little different. But I think there are fewer differences this year than last year."

Edoardo Mortara, who spent six seasons with Audi before switching to Mercedes for 2017, added: "Last year, the car had its strengths and weaknesses and was sometimes difficult to control, especially in aerodynamics.

"Uniform aerodynamics can help us, in particular compared to Audi."

Returning 2015 champion Pascal Wehrlein expects the regulation changes to place a greater emphasis on qualifying performance, and said overtaking could become more difficult.

"The DTM has always been known for the fact that the field was close to each other," said Wehrlein, who will share Mercedes Formula 1 reserve duties with George Russell this year.

"The distance from first place to the last runner-up was sometimes only half a second. I guess the uniformity of the components will push the field even closer together.

"This makes it even more important to position yourself well in qualifying.

"If someone in front of you is only one or two tenths of a second slower, then it will be very difficult to overtake."

shares
comments
Mortara to miss Berlin Formula E round due to Mercedes DTM clash
Previous article

Mortara to miss Berlin Formula E round due to Mercedes DTM clash

Next article

2018 DTM changes put Audi at 'disadvantage', says boss Dieter Gass

2018 DTM changes put Audi at 'disadvantage', says boss Dieter Gass
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Plus

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Plus

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Plus

The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Plus

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream" Plus

How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Plus

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021