Next please: Auer to test in Formula One
Now it has been officially confirmed: on 01st and 02nd August at the Hungaroring, Austrian Lucas Auer, currently second in the DTM championship standings, will execute his first Formula One tests – for the Force India F1 Team. This means that the Austrian is the youngest of quite a row of DTM talents that made it to Formula One – as test driver or even as GP regular.
In the 2017 season, two former DTM drivers race at the pinnacle of motor racing: Esteban Ocon and the 2015 DTM Champion, Pascal Wehrlein. The latter used the top category of touring-car racing as stepping stone to the pinnacle of motor racing. In 2013, the today 22-year old made his DTM debut for Mercedes-AMG as youngest DTM racer to date and by winning in 2014 at the Lausitzring he also became the youngest DTM race winner in the history of the sport. In 2015 Wehrlein tested for Force India and in the following season he was signed as GP regular by Manor Racing. In 2017 he switched to Sauber. To date, he contested 29GPs and scored six points. Ocon also made his DTM debut for Mercedes-AMG – in 2016 – and scored his only DTM points at Zandvoort by finishing ninth. Around season half-time, with just 10 DTM races contested, he switched as Wehrlein’s team-mate to Manor. This year he races for Formula India and delivers in great style. With 10 rounds of the season contested he holds the remarkable eighth position in the championship.
And now it’s Auer’s turn: “Really exciting new,” he says, “This is the most wonderful moment in my life. Being offered the chance of driving a Formula One car for the first represents a childhood dream come true.” Mercedes-AMG driver Auer will share the car with Russia’s F3 driver Nikita Mazepin. Each of the two drivers may test this year’s VJM10 for half a day.
„I’m particularly proud of having been offered this chance by Force India – one of the top teams on the Formula One grid. I will enjoy every single second.“Lucas Auer
Review: DTM as stepping stone to the pinnacle of motor racing
Already the fast and technically sophisticated DTM vehicles of the 1990s proved to be good education tools for outstanding motor-racing talents. Alexander Wurz for instance, another Austrian, contested the 1996 DTM season with an Opel Calibra for Team Joest and used DTM as stepping stone to Formula One. And Wurz will cross his fingers for his compatriot during the tests. “There are so many reason why these news make me happy. First of all I think that we Austrians finally need another local her on the F1 grid. Furthermore, Lucas is really cool guy. I really like him, he is a fighter. And it’s also great for DTM. In my days, several drivers switched from DTM to Formula One. I really hope he uses this great chance. He is racing in DTM, a highly competitive series with tough rivals and so, I expect him to be able to also quickly deliver in a Formula One vehicle, with his talent,” says the Austrian who contested in Formula One from 1997 to 2007 69 GPs for Benetton, McLaren and Williams (45 points, three podiums).
In 1995 and 1996, Giancarlo Fisichella (Alfa Romeo) and Jan Magnussen (Mercedes) also raced in DTM. The Italian contested 46 DTM rounds to secure seven podiums and 169 points. Fisichella made his F1 debut in the 1996 Australian GP for Minardi. In 1997, he was signed by team owner Eddie Jordan as GP regular. Meanwhile, Denmark’s Magnussen won two of his 42 DTM races and scored 146 points. In the 1995 Pacific GP, held in Japan, he replaced McLaren regular Mika Häkkinen. In 1997 and 1998 he was teamed-up with Rubens Barrichello as Stewart Ford regular. In the 1998 Canadian GP he secured his only point in the 25 GPs contested by him.
In addition, the circle of former DTM guest drivers also a prominent name from the who is who of Formula One drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya. In 1996, at the age of 20, he replaced Mercedes regular Jan Magnussen for one race weekend. The Colombian, in those days one of the big talents on the British Formula 3 Championship grid, raced from 2001 to 2006 for Williams and McLaren in Formula One. He celebrated seven GP wins and finished third in the championship in 2002 and 2003.