The wait is finally over, as Mercedes-Benz unveiled the remainder of their DTM squad for the forthcoming season. They have increased the grid by one driver this year, with a total of 23 racers now hitting the track in a V8 monster.
The preparations were underway at the annual team fitness camp at Seefeld in Austria, as Stuttgart made it official on just who is racing for them this season. One man that will take a step back is Spain’s Roberto Merhi.
He now steps into a new role as the test and development driver, who will help the team move forward with the 2014-spec C-Class AMG Coupe for this season’s campaign. Christian Vietoris, Pascal Wehrlein and Robert Wickens return for more DTM action, accompanying Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett, Daniel Juncadella and the new guy, Vitaly Petrov in the fight for glory.
With the two Brits, there are two very experienced champions, who will be pushing hard to stay out front, as well as a set of young motivated drivers that have also been the backbone of the main body of points from last year.
Vietoris looks to better his results from last year, having been the best-placed driver from the ranks of the ‘Three-Pointed Star”: “I finished on the podium four times, but unfortunately, never quite made the topmost rung. I would really like to change that this year. My team and I intend to go flat out to achieve our objective.”
Wickens was one of the drivers that scored a win last year, having won at the famed Nürburgring and took three podiums, but he too looks for further success in a series that he has called home since joining in 2012.
Juncadella and Wehrlein are hopeful of further points finishes, and even podiums will be a high priority for the Formula 3 graduates, as they now have survived their respective baptisms of fire and attempt to move forward in the right way.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, stated that there were expectations that were not met in 2013, which was concurrent with the emerging form that starting falling away from them from the halfway point: “We intend to do much better in the new season. With two DTM champions, two ex-Formula 1 drivers and a bevy of young, well-proven DTM drivers, we will achieve even more race wins this year and aim ultimately to have a good crack at the title.”
The teams are now set in stone, as the final preparations for all 23 drivers and three manufacturers get underway over the last stages of testing over the next couple of months. The drivers are looking for glory once again, as the efforts continue at a furious pace.