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Ralf Schumacher: DTM will be handled more professionally by ADAC

Ralf Schumacher expects the DTM to be managed more professionally following its takeover by German automobile club ADAC.

Car group shoot

At the end of last year, Gerhard Berger disbanded DTM’s parent company ITR and sold the brand rights to the ADAC, marking a complete shift in the ownership of Germany’s biggest racing series.

Next weekend’s season opener at the Oschersleben will mark the first DTM round to be organised by the ADAC, and the club will also be hosting four joint events with its other major championship, the GT Masters, later in the year.

Schumacher, who raced in the DTM himself during its manufacturer-heavy era between 2008-12 with Mercedes, is confident that the championship will grow now that it is in the hands of the ADAC.

"It can only get better now because it's simply being handled more professionally," Schumacher told German broadcaster ran.de. "It just wasn't like that, even if you should have trusted Gerhard Berger to do it better here and there. But he didn't.

“And also, the whole farewell was very unfortunate [with teams having been assured of the future of the series at last year’s final round]. Accordingly, things can only go uphill for DTM now.

“DTM is an incredibly important brand for German motorsport, especially through the great times of the DTM itself, but also as a platform for some current Formula 1 drivers.

"It's really nice and important that the topic is now finally in calm waters and is being handled professionally - and also has a good and, above all, financially secure future, at least from the organiser's point of view.”

Ralf Schumacher

Ralf Schumacher

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Schumacher has been critical of Berger in the past and was also unimpressed when his son David was hit with a 12-place grid penalty for a track limits infringement after Spa last year.

But the ex-Formula 1 driver is confident of improvements in the stewarding process, with Sven Stoppe returning as race director to replace Scot Elkins.

"I expect continuity and professional handling of penalties," he said. "In that respect, we have a very good, competent man as the race director, who is with the ADAC.

"Gerhard always talks his way out of it a bit and says he has nothing to do with the rules.  He makes it a bit easy for himself there. That could be changed."

Berger became the sole owner of the DTM in 2021 following the demise of the Class 1 era, with both Audi and BMW ceding their stake in parent body ITR.

Berger subsequently turned the DTM into a customer-focused GT3 series, and managed to attract factory-backed entries from a wide variety of manufacturers as well as a full-fledged team from Red Bull. 

But after two full seasons he was forced to sell the DTM to the ADAC at the end of 2022, although he insisted the ITR didn't lack any money to continue running the series. 

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