In the face of outrage from many fans, Mercedes defended their decision to use instructions to help Maximilian Götz win the 2021 DTM title.
Last weekend, Maximilian Götz managed to close a 26 point delay over Liam Lawson to become the 2021 DTM champion, however this was only possible following Mercedes’ intervention in the second race at the Norisring, ordering Lucas Auer and Philip Ellis, Winward drivers, to let HRT # 4 pass. The leaders complied with three laps to go, with Auer giving up the opportunity for a third victory in three weekends.
Earlier in the race, the three Mercedes drivers had found themselves in the top three after an attempt to overtake Kelvin van der Linde over Lawson damaged New Zealand’s Ferrari AF Corse suspension.
The outcome of the race was very badly received by the fans, who were quick to express their dissatisfaction on social networks. But according to Thomas Jäger, head of Mercedes-AMG’s customer program, the star brand was right to interfere in the ranking order to help Götz, even though the German driver was riding in a team. different from the Auer-Ellis tandem, because all benefit from pooled data and knowledge.
“From my point of view, it’s give and take”, he explained. “The teams know it, the drivers know it, because we have seven cars on the grid and all of them benefit from our system. They get great support from us and then it’s in their hands. we share the data, we share the settings, we share the videos, and all the cars are very capable. That’s why we’ve seen such a level of competitiveness between our cars. “
“On Saturday we had five cars in the same tenth. For some reason other manufacturers weren’t able to do the same. This is our first point, the strength of the Mercedes-AMG support system. , given that every rider has benefited from one thing or the other during the season, they were of course willing to see only one team in order to get such a good result because we never know when we will be again in a position to win a championship. “
“That’s why I think there was no need to convince anyone because deep down we’re a big family, the drivers know what to do. It’s great to have this kind of team and these drivers, because maybe next time someone else will be able to take advantage of it and that’s why I thank all our teams. “
Prior to his return to DTM this season, Götz had had two passable seasons at Mercedes, between 2015 and 2016, long before the championship adopted GT3 regulations. And although the German only climbed the top step of the podium once before his victory at the Norisring, he was one of the most consistent drivers of the year, finishing the season with eight podiums. in 16 participations.
Asked about the tactics employed by Mercedes, Götz said the instructions were “part of the game” and that the clash at the start between his two opponents for the title only increased his chances.
“I think we saw that the situation resolved itself”, he commented. “We were third in the championship, with the lowest odds of winning. And there were these guys, like Kelvin and Liam, who fought a lot and didn’t give each other freebies, and we took advantage of that.”
“And then we also had the help of the constructor and the teammates so that [le titre] becomes a reality. Of course what happened before [avec Lawson et van der Linde] was not controlled, it was purely racing. I think in our position everyone would have done the same. It’s part of the game and the others made our life a little easier [en course].”