Mercedes-Benz have confirmed this morning that David Coulthard will continue to race for them in the DTM this season. Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Scot is about to be joined in the marque's lineup by single-seater champions Roberto Merhi and Robert Wickens.
13-times Grand Prix winner Coulthard has been racing for the brand in the DTM for the past two years, and will continue to drive for the Mucke Motorsport squad. This year he will get a brand new car, thanks to the series' new regulations.
“In 2012, the DTM enters a new era,” said the 40-year-old, who will continue to race alongside his F1 commentary commitments for the BBC.
“New cars, new technical regulations and a third manufacturer promise to make the championship more exciting than ever before. That's why I'm looking forward even more to my third year with Mercedes-Benz in this highly competitive championship.”
Coulthard will continue to support the Wings for Life charity, founded by Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the Red Bull Racing team for whom Coulthard is also an ambassador.
“The popularity of the DTM and the huge enthusiasm of the fans make this yet another excellent platform to draw attention to Wings for Life, the charity organisation for which I have been such a committed advocate over many years.
“I now have two years of DTM experience to draw on. My first impressions of our DTM Mercedes AMG C CoupÃ© are very positive – especially the paddle shift on the steering wheel which I know very well from my time in Formula One.
“In the past two years, I've had to learn a lot about the engineering, the driving technique and about DTM racing in general. I know my team well now and, after 15 years as a member of the Mercedes-Benz family, I feel really at home. In 2012, I want to continue my progress and post some respectable results.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug added: “David Coulthard is one of the best-known and most popular drivers in the DTM. He has played a prominent role in Mercedes-Benz motorsport history since winning the first race with the then brand-new McLaren Mercedes Silver Arrow in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix.
“In 2012, David Coulthard will be contesting his third DTM season, and this time he has set his sights even higher. Last year, there were several races in which David was amongst the very fastest in the field over the entire distance. As soon as David can turn this speed into better grid positions and quicker starts, he will be a real contender. And this is our shared goal for 2012.”
Coulthard joins Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher as confirmed drivers for Mercedes for this season, with Jamie Green and Christian Vietoris also likely to be retained. Widespread media reports state that they will be joined by Merhi and Wickens, the reigning champions of the F3 Euro Series and Formula Renault 3.5 Series respectively. Merhi was an official Mercedes driver for all three of his seasons in F3, and like Wickens has struggled to gather the budget needed to climb to the next step of the single-seater ladder. Both will look the follow the example of Paul Di Resta, and use the DTM to get onto the F1 grid.