Having been made the new chairman of the ITR back in February, in his first public appearance since taking on the role Gerhard Berger has opened up about his new role and his first impressions and the future of the DTM series.
The Austrian has been involved in motorsport for the past 35 years, best known for his time in Formula One as Ayrton Senna‘s friend and team-mate at McLaren.
Now with young children the global nature of F1 is not an option for Berger.
“I have got two young children and so, I’m not ready to accept any compromises. Therefore, the Formula One environment with 21 races per year contested all over the world wasn’t an option, for me. DTM, however, is perfect for me – exactly what I want”
Out of the nine rounds this season, four of them will be taking place outside of Germany – Budapest, Moscow, Zandvoort and Spielberg.
“Germany and the neighbouring countries are the home of DTM.”
Following the end of the 2016 season, the decision was made to reduce the grid from 24 cars to 18 – cutting the three teams from eight cars to six.
This figure was last seen in 2011 the year prior to BMW rejoining the championship.
“18 vehicles are okay but from my point of view, this is the absolute minimum. For the future I would love to again see a bigger DTM grid.
“Nonetheless, I expect the championship to be really thrilling and the regulation changes will contribute to the excitement.”
“If we keep on strengthening the DTM platform the series also will become interesting for other manufacturers.
“That’s something I am positive about. But at this point in time we aren’t in concrete conversations.”
The series has made further changes to its race formats for this year, with the two races over the weekend running to the same length and featuring mandatory pitstops.
Since the series’ rebirth in 2000 there has never been more than three manufacturers competing in the championship.
“We will use the 2017 season to exactly analyse the actual condition. Then we get together with the manufacturers to set the course for the coming years.
“While doing so it’s of maximum importance to always keep an eye on what the fans want and provide good sport. And then we will keep on enhancing DTM step by step with the appropriate measures.”