New DTM deal for Schumacher

Mercedes has revealed that Ralf Schumacher has extended his contract to continue in the DTM for the coming season, with the former F1 racer moving up to a 2009-spec Mercedes C-Class for his second year in the series.

Having seen his Formula One career come to an end, the 33-year-old followed in the footsteps of drivers like Jean Alesi, Mika Hakkinen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen in switching to the touring car series but he endured a difficult year in a 2007-spec car – taking a best finish of seventh and finishing down in 14th place in the standings.

However, with his learning year now behind him, Schumacher will be armed with the new 2009 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class for the new campaign and he said he was now keen to repay the faith shown in him by the manufacturer for the his second year of competition.

“After only one year with a year old car I now change to the up-to-date Mercedes-Benz C-Class,” he said. “A great chance for me.

“It was clear for all of us that 2008 would be a learning year for me, therefore I am satisfied with my achievements. The 2009 C-Class is a big chance for me and I want to justify the trust Mercedes-Benz put in me with good results.

“In my opinion, the DTM is the best touring car series in the world. Here we fight hard for every metre and every tenth of a second. As I know from many encounters in the paddock, the fans like this as much as me. From my point of view, the spectators don't get more value for their money in any other top racing series.”

Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug welcomed the chance to give Schumacher the latest model of car for the season ahead and said he was confident the driver would show what he is capable of during the year ahead.

“During the last season, Ralf Schumacher demonstrated that he was racing in the DTM with all his heart and that, after his Formula 1 career, he does not consider touring car racing a challenge which he has yet finished,” he said. “His learning year was good for him and for the DTM. The racing series again showed that even a world class driver with Formula 1 victories to his credit cannot come straight in and compete against the front runners.

“Nevertheless, Ralf became one of the most popular drivers already in his debut year and was in the focus of the interest from the beginning to the end.”

“Our latest tests in Mugello showed that Ralf can drive a DTM touring car at top level. After his 'learning year', he will get the chance in our new 2009 C-Class: Now everything is up to him and to us and I am sure Ralf will show what he can do.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ralf Schumacher during pre-season DTM testing for Mercedes at Oschersleben [pic credit: DTM Media]
Esteban Ocon poses with the Mercedes DTM car at Jerez. Pic credit: Daimler
Charles Pic poses next to a Mercedes DTM car at Jerez. Pic credit: Daimler
AMG Mercedes C-Coupe [pic credit Mercedes]
AMG Mercedes C-Coupe [pic credit DTM Media]
Mattias Ekstrom - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Mattias Ekstrom - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Marco Wittmann - RMG BMW [pic credit DTM Media]
Mattias Ekstrom - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Mattias Ekstrom - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Mattias Ekstrom - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Paul di Resta - AMG Mercedes [pic credit DTM Media]
Augusto Farfus - RBM BMW [pic credit: DTM Media]
Augusto Farfus - RBM BMW [pic credit: DTM Media
Miguel Molina - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Miguel Molina - Abt Audi [pic credit DTM Media]
Audi DTM drivers [pic credit DTM media]
Audi DTM drivers [pic credit DTM media]

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Gareth - Unregistered

February 11, 2009 12:23 PM

Am I the only one who feels Ralf doesn't deserve a 2009 car? I always thought he achieved more than he should have and was lucky to stay in F1 as long as he did. This DTM deal seems to be more around his name than his skill and performance last year. Why not give one of the young guns a chance, someone who actually has the hunger.

Boo - Unregistered

February 11, 2009 12:31 PM

Agreed. Drivers like Gary Paffett, Alex Margaritis, Daniel La Rosa all performed wonders with older cars over the last couple of years, so it is sad to see an available seat go to the 'name' rather than the 'talent'. He might prove me wrong (he has won in F1 after all), but Schumacher doesn't deserve a top seat just yet IMHO...

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