Despite having earlier confirmed his 2013 participation, Ralf Schumacher is to end his Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters career with immediate effect, making way for new young Mercedes-Benz signing Pascal Wehrlein for the coming season.
Scnumacher has competed in the DTM since the 2008 season, making 52 race starts for Mercedes. During this time the German has scored two podium finishes, with both coming during the 2011 season when he finished a DTM career-best 8th overall. Schumacher’s continued participation in the DTM had been the subject of much speculation, especially when it was rumoured that Pole Robert Kubica was close to joining the squad for 2013.
According to the German publication Motorsport-Total.com, Schumacher will no longer compete in the touring car series, instead being replaced by young German Pascal Wehrlein. The 18 year-old has been making a strong name for himself in recent years, winning the 2011 ADAC Formel Masters single-seater series, before finishing runner-up in the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series. Wehrlein would become the youngest driver on the DTM grid.
Wehrlein finished as runner-up to Daniel Juncadella in the 2012 F3 Euro Series. With the two drivers set to graduate to the DTM with Mercedes-Benz, it brings a much-needed injection of young talent to the Mercedes squad for 2013.
The exact reasons for Schumacher’s exit have not been revealed, with an official announcement expected to follow shortly.