DTM and Formula E start together
DTM boss Gerhard Berger made it clear after the Audi retirement announced for the end of the year: “He is working with all his might on a 2020 season, which, however, is on ice due to the corona crisis and the season start was postponed to mid-July at the Norisring. The only option in the midst of the pandemic: ghost races like those planned by Formula 1 in Spielberg from the beginning of July. For the DTM, for example, Wednesday is an important day when the German government discusses further relaxation with the federal states. One essential topic: a continuation of the season in the German Soccer League, with the public excluded. If the green light is given for football, motor sports could also push ahead with the planning.
Crisis needs unusual solution
Of course, those responsible are already in talks, because in times of crisis, unusual ideas are sometimes needed, such as two motorsport series that cooperate with each other. Obviously a realistic option: The DTM and Formula E are joining forces, making common cause. That’s what Formula E founder Alejandro Agag indicated at Autosport. “Maybe we’ll do something together. These are extraordinary times. We have to pay attention to costs and combine things in order to reduce them. We are open to all options,” he said.
Crisis infects DTM
To do this, of course, egos would have to be trimmed down. Berger, for example, had often stressed that the DTM is the supporting programme only in exceptional cases. While the DTM season hasn’t even started yet, five races have already taken place in Formula E, six races have been cancelled. That’s why the organisers are thinking about moving from the metropolises to permanent race tracks. For the season to be considered as such, Formula E would have to host another race.
Audi and BMW have Beef
Fröhlich, who will retire at the end of June and has always been a supporter of the DTM, draws his displeasure above all from the comparison with ex-DTM participant Mercedes. “When Mercedes retired, Ola Källenius (at that time head of development, now head of Daimler; editor’s note) called me personally and explained why and how. It was all professional and appreciative. That’s what I missed here at Audi,” the 59-year-old finds clear words. And this despite the fact that the new Audi boss Markus Duesmann himself was part of the BMW Board of Management until he moved to Ingolstadt in 2018 and therefore has Fröhlich’s phone number. How did BMW find out about Audi’s withdrawal? “Immediately before the public announcement on 27 April, DTM boss Gerhard Berger had informed me about the exit plans, I am in close contact with him,” says Fröhlich. “And he, too, was not informed by Audi’s Board of Management but very late at the working level. Just like other partners.”
“Don’t expect too much from current Audi stakeholders”
Due to Audi’s task “the series has now been plunged into an existential crisis. Knowingly and with full awareness,” Fröhlich reinforces his criticism. And this despite the fact that the next steps towards electrification had been “very confidently” agreed with those responsible, he alludes to the fact that there was no contradiction to Audi’s corporate strategy. Fröhlich finds that the fact that the agreement is not being adhered to now “is not particularly long-term in its thinking. But I don’t expect too much from the current players either,” he says, unable to deny himself another spike against the Audi leadership.