Dieter Gass, Audi’s motorsport chief, has responded to criticism leveled at the manufacturer’s shock decision to leave DTM after 2020, denying that Audi has dug the DTM’s grave with the decision and claiming that their presence prevented DTM from going under earlier.
Audi announced last month that it would leave the series at the end of the current season, leaving BMW as the championship’s sole manufacturer. Some have criticised Audi’s decision to leave, but Gass states that it was the departure of both Mercedes and Aston Martin were more contributing factors to DTM’s declining.
“Of course, I see it quite differently. You have to look at the big picture,” Gass told Motorsport-Magazin. “After the Mercedes left the market, there were only two manufacturers. And it was actually clear that the DTM would no longer work with only two manufacturers. Then Aston Martin came as a stopgap. One can discuss to what extent this was successful and whether they were the gravediggers by their exit.”
Mercedes left the championship as reigning champions at the end of the 2018 campaign, after which the R-Motorsport-run Aston Martin squad was brought in. The four-car crew of Paul di Resta, Daniel Juncadella, Jake Dennis and Ferdinand von Habsburg struggled during the 2019 season, and the program was ended after only a single season.
Gass insists that Audi contributed significantly to the DTM in the last number of years, going as far as saying that the series would have been finished earlier if it were not for the input from Ingolstadt.
“I would see it that way, that Audi was the brand that pushed the DTM the most in the last years. We were the first to bring a customer team to the grid. And the only brand to bring a ninth car to fill the grid again for 2020.
I think it’s pretty unfair to accuse us of being the gravedigger of the DTM. If it weren’t for Audi, the DTM would have been finished much earlier.”