"I had my nicest time to date in DTM"
Pascal Wehrlein is back. The 23-year old switches for the 2018 season from Formula One back to DTM. The youngest champion in the history of the series extensively explains the motivations for his comeback and his expectations for the coming season. DTM.com compiled the most important statements of the Mercedes-AMG driver.
What made you make this step?
"Unfortunately I wasn't able to secure a Formula One race seat for 2018 and contesting no races this year wasn't an alternative for me - while DTM always was an option. Therefore, making the step back to DTM was an easy one, for me. I once again want to give my very best with Mercedes-AMG. I'm looking forward to DTM and even more so as my years in DTM were the nicest years in my career to date."
Do you want to tie in with the performances in your last DTM year so far? What are your ambitions and your goal for 2018?
"Doing so would be a dream come true. But I haven't raced a touring car for two years. Furthermore, several things have been changed in DTM. But I want to be competitive as fast as possible. And I would love to have a car that offers me the chance of winning races. But first of all I have to re-adapt - and I have got just two days of testing to do so. The highest expectations I have to meet are my own ones. I won't pressurise myself but I'm a very ambitious person. Nonetheless, talking about the title makes absolutely no sense at this point in time."
What are you looking forward to in particular, in DTM?
"To winning races - hopefully. That's something I haven't experience for two years and encountering such a dry spell is anything but easy."
How good does it feel for a racing driver to be able to battle it out for race wins?
"This was a major motivation for me to return to DTM. I really missed this feeling."
What circuit or event are you particularly looking forward to?
"Most definitely to the season kick-off at Hockenheim. And to the Norisring too. The races there always are cool."
A successful DTM season possibly also could increase Formula One's interest in you...
"Yes. I think that I would improve my position if I would be able to battle it out at the front end of the field and impress with great races right away. If you are racing in Formula One for the backmarkers and have no chance of shining as securing better results is virtually impossible you easily fall into oblivion. But I didn't think about that, so far."
How do you access the current situation in DTM regarding the regulations and the course of the races??
"I regard it all as very positive, to date. Due to the ban of the tyre warmers things tend to be thrilling following the pit stops. I also like the weight regulations and the Indy start is really cool. But that's something I will have to accustom to. And because of the one-way radio ban I won't have to rant any longer as I don't like talking to myself."
What do you think? How will the motor-racing enthusiasts respond to your DTM comeback?
"I think the Mercedes supporters and my own fans will be really delighted. I hope that the others also will be happy if the races are thrilling - and I hope that I will be able to add to the show. Meanwhile, I am well aware that I wasn't the most popular driver in 2015."
Will the coming season be easier for you as you matured as motor racer or will it be more difficult because you weren't part of the show, for a while?
"It definitely will be easier than in 2013 when I contested my first DTM season. Because I gathered experiences in both a DTM car and a Formula One single-seater. Furthermore, I know nearly all the circuits. On the other hand, it will be more difficult as the 2015 season as I have to re-familiarise myself with the DTM vehicle. I have to re-adapt my style of driving to it. But I think I won't need much time to do so."