Two-time DTM champion Gary Paffett will not race in the opening two rounds of the 2021 DTM championship due to clashing commitments with the Mercedes Formula E operation.
Paffett will be forced to forego round one at Monza and round two at the Lausitzring, as both events clash with his duties as part of the Mercedes Formula E squad, where he acts as both reserve driver and technical and driver advisor.
As a result, he will not make his return to the series until the third round of the championship, which is held at Zolder.
“I just want to let you know some news which probably would disappoint a lot of you that I’m actually not going to be racing at the first event in Monza and the second event at Lausitzring as well in the DTM,” Paffett said in a video message on Twitter.
“Due to my previous commitments with the Mercedes Formula E team as reserve driver and technical and sporting advisor, I’m not going to be able to make it there because of the clashes with Puebla in Mexico and the UK events of Formula E.”
Mercedes-AMG factory driver Maximilian Buhk has been brought in as a replacement for Paffett at Mucke Motorsport.
“Unfortunately I’m not going to be at the first two events but I’ll be back on track pushing as hard as I can from the third weekend onwards. The car, the Schaeffler-Paravan Mercedes-AMG run by Mucke Motorsport, will be racing there in the very safe and capable hands of good friend Maxi Buhk so I hope you can all cheer the team in my absence as I will be.”
28-year-old Buhk, who is a regular with Mercedes in various GT3-based series, will be making his DTM debut at the Temple of Speed this weekend.