Mercedes has joined a growing list of manufacturers who have started taking an interest in Formula E.
Ever since DTM’s relaunch in 2000, Mercedes has been an integral part of the championship. However, it has now confirmed its exit from DTM, and post its departure, there will be only two manufacturers, BMW and Audi, in the 2019 season. The two German rivals also contend in the Formula E Championship.
"Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes," said Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff. "Although leaving is tough for all of us, we will be doing everything during this season and next to make sure we win as many DTM titles as possible before we go. We owe that to our fans and to ourselves."
Mercedes had first joined the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (predecessor to the modern DTM), in 1988, securing its first title with Klaus Ludwig in 1992.
Mercedes won more titles with Ludwig in 1994 and Bernd Schneider in 1995, before the category was shut down at the end of 1996 as a result of spiralling costs. The series then relaunched in 2000 and Mercedes was back at it with their winning ways.
Bernd Schneider secured four more titles in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006, while Gary Paffett, Paul di Resta, and more recently, Sauber Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein have taken a title each for Mercedes.
The motorsport outfit HWA (named for founder Hans-Werner Aufrecht) currently runs all six of its 2017 entries following a downscaling from eight to six cars last winter. The drivers for the 2017 season are Paffett and di Resta, joined by Lucas Auer, Edoardo Mortara, Maro Engel and Robert Wickens.
Originally, the agreement signed by Mercedes and Formula E Holdings was for a season five (2018/19) entry, but instead, will make its debut in season six.
Wolff explained the reason for entry in season six is so that they have enough time to properly understand Formula E and prepare for their entry in the right way.
He also reassured Mercedes’ commitment to Formula 1 which was strengthened by a recent extension to its long-standing title sponsorship agreement with Petronas. HWA will run the Mercedes Formula E outfit during season six and could enter the championship in season five as part of a tie-up with Venturi, which currently runs factory driver Engel.