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Wittmann requires “equal circumstances” in BMW’s DTM camp after 2023 frustrations

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Wittmann recorded his worst-ever marketing campaign in his 11-year stint within the DTM, with the German driver ending up a distant thirteenth within the championship with simply 91 factors in his tally.

Even through the COVID-affected 2020 season during which BMW was fully overshadowed by its sole producer rival Audi, Wittmann had managed to complete inside the highest 10 within the standings with a sequence of top-notch performances.

The 2023 season additionally marked the primary time he ended a marketing campaign with out a podium, with a pair of fourth-place finishes at Zandvoort and the Pink Bull Ring the very best he may handle all yr.

BMW had positioned Wittmann on the new Undertaking 1 staff in 2023, whereas its different manufacturing unit drivers Sheldon van der Linde and Rene Rast competed for the better-funded Schubert staff with which van der Linde gained the 2022 title.

Whereas a lot of the prime groups, together with Schubert, held a personal check at each observe that was on the calendar, aside from Norisring the place the streets can solely be closed for one race weekend a yr, Undertaking 1 undertook a really restricted testing programme to the detriment of its efficiency.

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The 34-year-old believes a scarcity of observe time was the principle purpose why he hardly ever featured on the sharp finish of the sphere in 2023.

“As there isn’t a check ban within the DTM, many groups make the most of this, which can also be reputable,” he defined. “And so that you come to each race weekend with a backlog of expertise. 

“You solely have these two apply classes and a single run on new tyres when the observe is dry. It is virtually unimaginable to make up for that.

“We have been testing in Zandvoort and that was our strongest weekend [despite a botched pitstop costing a podium].

“What’s extra, Zandvoort is clearly my favorite observe on the calendar. I’ve all the time been profitable there. 

“The scenario was comparable in Spielberg: We had the pre-season check there and already had a couple of concepts and data that we may use. In any respect the opposite tracks, we had this lack of expertise.”

He added: “If it is as much as me as a driver, I check 20 days a yr. That may be the opposite excessive, however it could have been perfect if we had accomplished a check earlier than each race like the opposite groups.”

Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz

Podium: Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport, Rene Rast, Group ABT Sportsline

In distinction to Wittmann, van der Linde and Rast completed fourth and fifth within the championship this yr after a season during which they often featured on the rostrum and bagged one victory one another.

With the distinction in outcomes fairly clear to onlookers, Wittmann needs BMW to make sure he has entry to the identical stage of assets as different manufacturing unit drivers so he would not really feel he’s at an obstacle to them.

Requested if he wish to stay within the DTM subsequent yr, he stated: “It could be my want. I stated to [BMW motorsport boss] Andreas [Roos]: ‘Crucial factor for me is that I’ve a stage taking part in subject. I need to have the identical circumstances as the opposite two works drivers’.

“What comes out ultimately and the way he handles it’s his determination.”

When Wittmann’s request for equal remedy was put to Roos, he informed Autosport’s sister website Motorsport-Complete.com: “It’s not the case that we need to drawback or benefit a driver. Our job and our mission is to have three vehicles on the identical stage and in addition on the entrance. This assist is unquestionably there.”

Nonetheless, he made it clear that it’s as much as groups to determine how a lot assets they commit to testing, with BMW having no say on this matter.

“As a producer, we have now no affect on that,” he stated. “It is a staff determination as to how a lot you possibly can check and what you concentrate on. 

“Schubert tried to do rather a lot, however ultimately every little thing has to suit collectively, together with availability, the funds, and so forth.”

What subsequent for Wittmann?

Marco Wittmann, Project 1 Motorsport

Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz

Marco Wittmann, Undertaking 1 Motorsport

With Undertaking 1 anticipated to modify camps and be part of a doable McLaren assault on the DTM subsequent yr, as reported by Autosport this month, BMW would possibly want to search out one other dwelling for Wittmann within the 2024 season.

Former Audi squad Rosberg is seeking to make a comeback and could possibly be one among BMW’s choices, particularly as Roos himself labored on the outfit up to now previous to taking a managerial function at Audi after which BMW.

Nonetheless, a return to the DTM for Group Rosberg will rely on its capability to boost ample funds, which stays a giant query mark in the intervening time.

Alternate options to Group Rosberg are restricted. WRT could possibly be a candidate, however staff boss Vincent Vosse has resisted the temptation to hitch the DTM in recent times.

WRT may even be working a twin Hypercar and LMGT3 programme with BMW within the World Endurance Championship this yr, which implies it won’t be able to commit the type of focus a sequence like DTM requires.

RGM, which was a part of BMW’s manufacturing unit roster through the Class 1 days of DTM, is highly-rated however lacks the construction to function as a buyer staff.

For the reason that demise of Class 1, RGM has been concerned in serving to BMW develop its LMDh and GT3 vehicles, and most just lately has been engaged on bringing an Evo model of the M4 for 2025.

However an RMG DTM effort would require BMW to fund the whole programme, one thing the Munich producer would by no means comply with because it sees GT3 as a buyer sport.

If Group Rosberg can’t discover the mandatory funds and BMW can’t discover one other staff to interchange outgoing Undertaking 1, then, in principle, it may place Wittmann at an expanded three-car Schubert operation.

However once more, BMW must justify such a transfer, as Torsten Schubert’s staff suffers from excessive operational prices after appreciable investments within the staff in recent times. As such, Schubert would require in depth monetary assist from BMW to subject three professional drivers in DTM subsequent yr.

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