Mercedes, one of the three marques that defines the current era of Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters alongside Audi and BMW, is quitting DTM in 2018 to join Formula E with a full-time works effort in the 2019-2020 season, reports Motorsport.com. Both of Mercedes’ DTM rivals are already involved in Formula E.
Mercedes dropping DTM for the new all-electric series no doubt one that echoes Audi’s move out of the World Endurance Championship at the end of last year.
They were initially supposed to join for Formula E’s fifth 2018-2019 season, however, Mercedes-AMG Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff told Motorsport.com that they wanted the extra year to “give us time to properly understand” the new all-electric series and “prepare for our entry in the right way.”
Wolff believes that this change in Mercedes’ motorsport strategy will put Mercedes at the top of the two most relevant series at the moment. Wolff told Motorsport.com:
In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects. The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that.
Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies.
Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience - and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.
The Mercedes Formula One team recently extended their title sponsorship with Petronas, putting to rest many of the rumors that Mercedes might pull out of F1.
Mercedes has been insanely successful in DTM, with 183 race wins and 10 drivers’ titles. Mercedes first became involved in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft that preceded the modern DTM series in 1988, and later became an integral part of DTM’s relaunch in 2000. They currently have six works entries run by their works team HWA in the series.
HWA is expected to take over Mercedes’ works Formula E entry in season six, Motorsport.com notes. However, Mercedes and HWA could enter the series early through a partnership with the existing Venturi Formula E team. Mercedes factory driver Maro Engel currently races for the Venturi Formula E team.