F1 stars not key to DTM future.

Although Ralf Schumacher could still appear in the DTM this season, series chief Hans Werner Aufrecht has admitted that the series doesn't need a 'true star' in order to be successful.

The retirement of Mika Hakkinen at the end of 2007 means there are currently no former Formula 1 drivers confirmed for the season ahead, with Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen having also been a part of the DTM scene in recent years.

Although admitting that Hakkinen was a loss to the series, Aufrecht said that the DTM has a 'healthy basis' and he had no concerns about the future.

"If a series needs a star to be successful, there's something wrong with the basis - and if the basis isn't healthy, the series won't have long-term success," he said. "It's a situation you may compare with building a house: if standing on a poor baseplate, it will break down sometime. No matter, how beautiful the interior fittings. We, however, have got a healthy basis as the sport is good.

"Mika Hakkinen has given DTM a lot. And the same applies to Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. But it was clear that they wouldn't be racing in DTM for ever. Still, it's more important that the sport is good. Never had a two-time Formula 1 World Champion entered DTM if it hadn't motor-racing significance."

Aufrecht added that Schumacher would be a valuable addition to the grid if a deal is concluded to see him join Mercedes for the season ahead, although he pointed out that he wouldn't be telling his teams who they should and shouldn't sign.

"Should there be the possibility to sign Ralf Schumacher, every manufacturer should try to do so," he said. "Ralf has got outstanding driving skills, a great character and he is extremely popular with the DTM enthusiasts. It couldn't come any better, could it?

"[However] Telling Norbert Haug which drivers he should sign isn't my task. That's something he can do single-handedly. But quite obviously, I'd love to see Ralf Schumacher in DTM - just as any DTM enthusiast."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Former F1 star Ralf Schumacher tries out a Mercedes C-Class DTM machine at Estoril for the second time [pic credit: DTM Media]
Mika Hakkinen - AMG Mercedes [pic credit: DTM Media]
Heinz Harald Frentzen (DER), Audi Sport Team ABT Audi A4 DTM 2006.DTM, Round 4, Brands Hatch, Kent, UK. 30th June - 2nd July 2006.
Felix Rosenqvist, Mercedes Team ART, DTM [Credit: Mercedes]
Marco Wittmann, BMW, DTM, [Credit: DTM]
Robert Wickens, DTM, Moscow Raceway [Credit: DTM]
Mattias Ekstrom - Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline [pic credit Audi Sport]
Robert Wickens - Mercedes-AMG DTM Team HWA [pic credit DTM]
Rene Rast - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]
Rene Rast - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]
Edoardo Mortara - Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline [pic credit Audi Sport]
Marco Wittmann - BMW Team RMG [pic credit BMW]
Marco Wittmann - BMW Team RMG [pic credit BMW]
Gary Paffett - Mercedes-AMG DTM Team ART [pic credit DTM]
Jamie Green - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]
Jamie Green - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]
Jamie Green - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]
Jamie Green - Audi Sport Team Rosberg [pic credit Audi Sport]

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Iain Langmaid - Unregistered

February 14, 2008 5:00 PM

Of course I am pleased that the DTM has bagged Ralf Schumacher and I think the right decision has been made to give him a 2007 C Klasse while he learns the circuits in the DTM. As for the true star I don't think he is up there with the likes of Hakkinen and Frentzen even though he is a six time Grand Prix winner. But I am sure he will do well in the DTM though.

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