Mercedes to quit DTM at end of 2018 to enter Formula E
Posted By: Editor   |  25 Jul 2017   |  9:23 am GMT  |  123 comments

Mercedes will quit the DTM at the end of 2018 to enter Formula E after 18 consecutive seasons in the German touring car series. The manufacturer cited a desire to pursue electric mobility and new technology to use in its road cars as the reason for its departure from DTM.

It will launch its FE team for the 2019-2020 season after having competed in the DTM since 2000. Its current drivers under the HWA team are Gary Paffett, ex-Force India racer Paul di Resta, soon-to-be Force India test driver Lucas Auer, former Lotus tester Edoardo Mortara, Maro Engel and Robert Wickens.

Audi and BMW will therefore be the only two manufacturers present in the German series after 2018.

In a statement given out on Monday, Mercedes Formula 1 Team Principal Toto Wolff said, “Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in our motorsport history.

“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.”

Mercedes has retained Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas as its sponsor in F1 since 2010, and, amid rumours that the sponsorship deal would end, the manufacturer renewed its sponsorship contract with the oil company to stretch beyond 2018 in a multi-year deal.

“In motorsport, like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects,” continued Wolff.

“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.”

In 26 DTM seasons, from 1988, Mercedes has won 10 drivers’ titles, 13 team titles and six manufacturer titles (including those in the International Touring Car championship). Mercedes also boasts 184 race wins, 137 pole positions and 552 podium finishes in the DTM.

Mercedes will join Audi, Jaguar and Renault in FE among others, but Audi’s participation in the DTM hasn’t been compromised so far because ABT’s FE offering isn’t factory-backed. However, next season Audi’s FE team will receive factory-backing.

The technological aspects of FE are now seen as a major driving factor for teams and Mercedes is aiming to raise the profile of its ‘EQ’ brand.

“Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our attractive battery powered electric vehicles under the EQ technology brand,” said Dr Jens Thiemer, Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes.

“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.

“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” continued Thiemer.

“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,” said Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.

“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.”

Have your say on Mercedes’ decision to quit the DTM in the comment section below.

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Given his performance in Hungary, do you reckon that Di Resta will be a Merc formula e driver?


Mercedes Benz pulling out of DTM sucks.
That is the form of racing that I can closest relate to my road car.
Not F1 and certainly not formula E!
SL65 AMG owner


Porsche will also enter into the Formula E championship in 2019/20 !
Porsche will terminate their LMP1 program by end of this year and focus on Formula E instead.

This despite huge success with their sportscar with successive titles in 2015/16, along with three straight wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours. As one of their board members said: “The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us. Porsche is working with alternative, innovative drive concepts. For us, Formula E is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high-performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability.”

Maybe Honda after all will be a winner in F1?
That is, they will be the only manufacturer of IC engines left in motorsport. ;o)


Its the right way to go for them, because the market its moving into electric cars…

sadly its also the start for the end of DTM, because it only seems like BMW will move to electric cars as well pretty soon…

in 15 years or so FE will be the pinnacle of the industry, and F1 will become an old fashion melancholic championship with fast and loud cars.


I was under the impression that Williams currently supplied all of the batteries for the Formula E series? It will be interesting to see how this will pan out given their EQ marketing strategy and competition with Williams in F1…


Eddie Jordan was kind of right.


Eddie might yet be fully right! These days he seems more believable than Toto, such is the lack of of convincing information from the Mercedes spin miester!


I’m sorry but why is everyone, and I mean everyone, refusing to mention the elephant in the room. Mercedes has just been ordered by the EU to undertake that biggest recall in history and pulls out of DTM within five business days. Please can we stop writing and talking about the red herring of FE here and pay attention to what will certainly be going on behind the scenes in the upper floors at Stuttgart. Over to you Mr Allen…

Best team in the world 🙁


If an FE team were to enter an F1 race (or an F1 team were to enter an FE race), who would win?


I like FE and the technology is very cool, but they need to do something about some of the tracks. The last race I tuned into was NY, what joke of a race track.


For reference a 2018 FE battery pack weighs around 250 kgs, about 1/3rd the total weight of the car (without driver). For that 250 kgs it goes about as far as 25 kgs of petrol. The engine makes around 250 kw and they are top speed limited to 225 kph.

All of the above are reasons why the circuits are short, the races only 30 minutes and then they change cars. After all who wants to stand around waiting for an hour for the battery to recharge.


I didn’t say anything about the tracks being short, I said some of the tracks are boring, NY as an example. I fully understand how FE works, but thanks for the superfluous information.


You do realise that a Tesla S wouldn’t make more than 3 laps around Nürburgring without needing to stop for an hour or so to recharge the batteries. Batteries that weigh 550 kgs BTW.


How do you know I don’t own a model S? Thanks for responding, but you assume too much with your comments.


First of all you have to believe that man-made global warming is a true thing, and then how far do you want to bend over for the rest of the act.
The fact is, the battery is yet to be replaced in practice. Will it ever for general purposes? Take away the government subsidy and Tesla would be out of business. G.M. has closed the Bolt production even with the available subsidy. The British gov’t. has decided to bend over and grab the ankles. Do what you have to to, I guess, Mercedes. It is not for this curmudgeon.


global warming is not a religion, you don’t just believe it…it should be a scientific enquiry where a question is asked, a prediction of the answer to that question, presented with some prior scientific knowledge to back it up, experimentation designed and carried out, results analysed and conclusions drawn…..but there isn’t a single experiment which proves that any of the gases produced in burning fossil fuels cause the temperature of any atmosphere to change in any way. there are numerous experiments which confirm that increasing carbon dioxide concentration cause an increase in the rate of photosynthesis so any of those experiment could easily be modified to find out if changing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration affects atmospheric temperatures..but guess what? they haven’t been done because the results don’t support their agenda so they just start telling stories, turning it into an ideology..
the reason conditions on earth are conducive to life is because it has evolved and will continue to evolve. there is nothing anyone or any group of people can do to prevent conditions on earth from evolving.. we are just too insignificant to bring about such a change in nature..insignificant!


F1 needs to go fully electric 2040 or earlier is there is allowed to be a Grand Prix after then.


I don’t really see how this will relate to niche F1. Besides, I’m sceptical this ban will actually happen. What’s the point of little old Blighty adopting this approach when China will undoubtedly carry on chugging unprecedented levels of smog into the atmosphere.

If it does go ahead I’ll be emigrating, maybe Portugal or Italy!


Does anybody know what kind of crowds they get at these FE races??
I personally think with Merc joining FE, it will get some boost in interest.
Will Ferrari be next?


James K. Ferrari won’t join FE until the rules allow manufacturers to build their own chassis. A key feature of Ferrari racing philosophy. I hope FE will allow this one day soon.


James from what I’ve seen on TV they seem to get reasonable crowds, but a large part of that is probably down to the fact most of the races are in big city centres making it more likely for the casual fan to attend. I’m sceptical they would get the same crowds at proper circuits away from city centres.


That says it all! 57 million viewers for the first 3 races, where 40 million saw the very first race!! What a drop in viewership.


a good build up and publicity got the numbers up but they didn’t return for more..


He struggles with numbers, he still thinks there hasn’t been a decline in viewing since the hybrid turbo era begun. Or he simply chooses to ignore that fact to suit his ramblings.


Thanks Nick. I tend to agree. I would imagine that most of the spectators are just passerbys, or people that are just curious, a bit like what happened with F1 in London.
The real test of fandom would be if they held a race at a proper circuit, but I shouldn’t think they would dare just yet.
Of course, electric or something similar is the future, for road cars, there’s no doubt about that. But a pure electric racing car….. no thanks.
I’ve just read that after 2040, petrol/ diesel cars will not be sold in Britain. Hopefully F1 can stay pure to its roots, and be the only thoroughbred motor racing league left on the planet😊


JK, I have it on very good authority that the FE spectators are actually retiree golfers, looking for a buggy upgrade. I’m sure there’s a marketing spin off…Formula E -means you can now play 18 holes in less that an hour!


😂😂😂 bingo!


f2 anyone?


They certainly sound like racing cars. That’s a possibility 👍🏻


but not many people want to watch it relative to f1.


Fórmula E is rubbish, I will never watch it.

We want exciting racing cars, these have screaming internal combustion engines. The reason we have issues now with the current PU is the pathetic attempt to turn it into some green economy circus that nobody wants.


f2 better?


We want exciting racing cars, these have screaming internal combustion engines.

Agreed. They had it right in 2005 when the engines sounded like they were about to detonate themselves.


f2 good enough?


Also watching old races from 2005 the cars looked magical gliding on rails it seemed. Now with more downforce and power the cars do not have that seems look to them. I feel that all this added weight has taken away from that magic of the cars in that era changing direction so awesomely. Suzuka S are best example I think. Also Those engines need to come back as well. I wish they would take all the best parts of each era and make an ultimate F1 car based of V12 V10 20,000 rpm light weight downforce double diffuser ground effects etc and find the right mixture of it all.


I agree. They may have plenty of downforce now and are proper fast through high speed stuff but they still look cumbersome and nowhere near as nimble as the beasts from 2005. Thanks to all the PU junk.


It was bound to happen. Sooner rather than later. Let’s hope Formula one can keep up although I’m not so impressed with Formula E yet. But it wll get stronger, no matter what.


no chance, running used to me a mode of transport and became a competitive sport as a result. running has not been a mode of transport for millennia yet people fill stadia to watch runners compete so the parallels you draw between cars and motorracing is baseless..


Some of the stupidest sets of reasoning I’ve heard in motorsport for a long time. Mercedes are abandoning a saloon/touring car series that people can at least identify with their Mercedes road car and replacing it with an open wheeler series that has no resemblance to any vehicle Mercedes sell or ever will sell. Sounds like a PR nightmare to me, the majority of people buy Mercedes because they look like a Mercedes, the 3 pointed star at the front for example. FE cars are all built to the same specification ie; they all look pretty much the same.

Aside from the marketing aspects, Mercedes are already in F1 with hybrid electric and regenerative technology, so exactly what they expect to get from FE technology wise is difficult to understand. My guess is that they intend to dominate FE by outspending everyone else, same as they do in F1 and then, if (when) they start getting beaten in F1 they have somewhere else to go. Perhaps also the reason for leaving DTM where Audi are giving them a real hard time.

An example of FE’s tenuous lifespan, at last year’s Hong Kong FE event they conducted a survey after the race with fans expressing disappointment over what they dubbed “toy cars” due to the ­absence of the usual roar from conventional engines. Whilst on FE in China, Beijing decided not to continue after staging races for the last two years.


no fans, no interest, pointless investing..


Good on Formula E to be able to attract more manufacturers. I watch a race here and there but l must admit that l haven’t been sold on the serie so far. I don’t particularly like the circuit used and that plus the lack of noise seem to be the main reason. I like that many of the racers are known and that Renault wins, but not much more. I do not follow DMT at all but it seems to have a fair amount of fans, so l am sure many will be sadden by the news. Maybe when Formula E evolve more toward a non-spec serie and the cars are taken to more traditional circuits, it will be more exciting to follow. Right now I am content by just following the results. Another thing, stop the fan boost. Marc

Ebola for sure!

I have tried to watch Formula E too. Its the future, it’s great blah blah blah… It just seems like a techo’s version of what open wheel motorsport should be. There are some absolutely amazing all electric high performance road cars appearing now so please make the the FE cars a bit more interesting and appealing????


Formula E….”Where sport and it’s fans end…and business takes over”!!!


This also impacts the existing F3 European Championship. It’s closely tied to the DTM. I wonder how much longer M-B (and VW, if VAG decides to pull Audi from the DTM) will continue making F3 engines? Too, adding a turbo and KERS to the existing F3 engines seems a reasonable course toward the next F1 regs, so maybe there are still R&D benefits to be had.


Cool, Formula E, or it’s offspring, is the future. The thing holding it back now is that they’re so slow. They look like F1 cars…but they go at Touring Car speeds. I’m getting used to the sound too. If they can get some speed, then I think it could be super cool and futuristic. Just look at that e car that lapped the Nurburgring recently. It was as fast as a fast thing.


how many laps?

søren christensen

Sound is a great part of the excitement of watching car races, be it live or TV. Luckily F1 now has a slightly better sound, but the whizz of FE simply cannot interest me. The cars are ugly, drivers mediocre and the “sound” terrible.
In the Lemans series, there is hope. If we get rid of the hybrids for next season, and are left with the purebred engines in LMP2 and GTE, it will be candy for the ears…
I will never forget the growling Panoz and earlier the screaming Mazdas at LeMans in the 90´ties


For those audiophiles of of a certain age, the sound of a Matra V12 at LeMans or in the back of a F1 car was the very pinnacle of racing.


not’s no!


Formula E:
whirrrrr, click, click, whirrrrrrrrr.
Awesome racing!


it’s not the noice which gets me, it’s the speed and dainty looking cars which kills my interests..


It’s going to take a lot of development to make Formula E of any interest to genuine motorsport enthusiasts. At least they are getting rid of the need for two cars just to complete a relatively short race !

The current rush to full electric cars is like driving up a cul de sac. Fuel cell technology would be far better as it’s totally green, the cars produce zero emissions and have no range issues.

All they need is for manufacturers to invest in the refuelling infrastructure but that now looks unlikely to happen. It’s a rerun of the Betamax/VHS battle. In that case, the better technological solution lost.


why would they need to refuel if they don’t use fuel?


I suspect cars will “cheat” by first introducing dual fuel (hybrid) electric cars. Cars that still need gas – more like a more efficient and powerful Prius. Then eventually the regular gas part will disappear and all gas stations will be electric charging stations – the way music streaming is killing iTunes download sales or Netflix DVD business is being killed by Netflix streaming. The main infrastructure problem facing is you cannot easily monetize refuelling since generally people drive short distances (less than a 2 to 3 hours/day) while the tipping point for widespread acceptance of electric cars may be when they can last 12 to 24 hours between each charge.

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