Audi internal restructuring casts doubt on DTM future

A forthcoming internal restructuring at Audi could put the German manufacturer's involvement in the DTM at risk beyond the 2020 season, Motorsport.com has learned.

Audi internal restructuring casts doubt on DTM future

At the Ingolstadt-based company, the board of directors is set to decide over the next few months whether to stay in the DTM after the end of this year.

A continuation of both the marque's DTM and Formula E programmes is considered very unlikely for cost reasons, which means its future in the tin-top category could hinge on ending its involvement in FE, also regarded as being highly improbable.

Audi's influential sales and marketing director Hildegard Wortmann is committed to FE, where the brand has been present since the series' inception in 2014. Additionally, electric mobility has been defined as a group-wide strategy by Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Volkswagen Motorsport announced last November that it would terminate all internal combustion engine-based motorsport activities, signifying the end of its FIA World Touring Car Cup presence, with sister brand Audi following suit by ending its works WTCR involvement.

As of April 1, Audi's new Chairman of the Board of Management Markus Duesmann, formerly head of development at the BMW Sauber Formula 1 team, will take over from Bram Schot. Duesmann also has a positive attitude towards FE.

On top of that, starting on July 1, Audi's factory motorsport programmes, which includes DTM, will no longer be assigned to the development department headed by board member Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler but to Audi Sport GmbH.

This is relevant because otherwise Rothenpieler could have acted as a counterweight to Wortmann and argued that the DTM is still absolutely necessary for Audi.

But Audi Sport GmbH, based in Neuburg, has two managing directors - Oliver Hoffmann and Julius Seebach - with equal rights who are not members of the board of management and therefore have less influence.

Wortmann's point of view is of great importance at Audi in this matter because motorsport is a marketing tool which is related to sales figures. And after the VW 'dieselgate' scandal, Audi is currently putting a lot of money and effort into building its e-tron electric fleet.

If the company from Ingolstadt actually decides to leave the DTM, it would be a heavy blow for the  touring car series, in which BMW would be the only manufacturer left following the recent exit of Aston Martin licensee R-Motorsport.

Audi is currently responsible for running eight cars in the DTM, including two fielded by customer squad WRT, accounting for more than half of the 15-car grid that is expected for the 2020 season unless BMW opts to run an eighth car.

Contacted by Motorsport.com regarding Audi's restructuring and its future in the DTM, a company spokesperson commented: "Our motorsport programmes are normally decided in autumn for the following season. The year 2020 is known with Formula E and DTM.

"As in the past, we will not be reporting 'water levels', we will only announce decisions. However, this will still take some time."

shares
comments
Kubica completes DTM move with new ART BMW team
Previous article

Kubica completes DTM move with new ART BMW team

Next article

DTM "too expensive" for private teams - HWA

DTM "too expensive" for private teams - HWA
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Prime

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Prime

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle.

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of 'classy' champion Martin Tomczyk Prime

The remarkable career of 'classy' champion Martin Tomczyk

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of teammates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Motorsport.com to look back.

GT
Mar 5, 2022
Jamie Green: The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Prime

Jamie Green: The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines.

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Prime

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in.

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream" Prime

How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet.

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Prime

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works.

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Prime

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021