Mercedes-Benz has announced a strategic repositioning of its motorsport activities which will see the Stuttgart based brand leave the DTM Series after the 2018 campaign.
The manufacturer will enter the 2019/20 FIA Formula E Championship.
Head of Mercedes Motorsport Toto Wolff, said: “Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes.
“I want to thank every team member whose fantastic work has helped to make Mercedes-Benz the most successful DTM manufacturer during that time. Although leaving is tough for all of us, we will be doing everything during this season and next to make sure we win as many DTM titles as possible before we go. We owe that to our fans and to ourselves.”
DTM was founded in 1988, in that time Mercedes has won 10 drivers’, 13 team and six manufacturer titles – this has included 183 race wins (most recent of which just yesterday at the Moscow Raceway), 128 pole positions and 540 podium finishes.
“Our departure from the DTM brings a long-standing motorsport era to a close. We look back with pride on the commitment of our teams, drivers, partners and the many people behind the scenes, who so often made the series a fascinating platform for our customers and for fans of our brand,” concluded Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars Dr Jens Thiemer. “It is now time to start on a new path.”
Wolff views Formula E as a new form of racing that reflects the rapidly changing automotive landscape.
“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. I am pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E, said: “This step shows how much the world is changing, not only in motorsport, but the whole automotive industry. We’re witnessing a transformation that will first change our cities, and then our roads. Formula E is the championship that embodies that change, and together with all our teams and manufacturers we’ll keep pushing for technologies to have better and more affordable electric cars.”
The finale of the 2016/17 Formula E championship takes place this weekend in Montreal with Sebastien Buemi leading the standings by ten points over Lucas di Grassi.