Mercedes-Benz Head of DTM Management Wolfgang Schattling admits that there is “nothing good to say” about the marque’s qualifying in the season opener at the Hockenheimring, after five of its cars were knocked out in Q1.
Mercedes endured well docoumented troubles with one-lap pace throughout the 2013 season and the drivers of the three-pointed star appeared to continue with this problem into 2014.
Not a single Mercedes driver was able to break into the top ten in free practice, whilst five of the marque’s seven C-Coupé’s were knocked out in Q1 in qualifying.
Indeed such was Mercedes lack of pace that three drivers – Robert Wickens, Christian Vietoris and Vitaly Petrov – were not even within a second of the pole position time in the usually ultra-competitive DTM.
The marque’s top drivers were Brit Gary Paffett in 15th and German Pascal Wehrlein in 16th – the only two drivers to make it through to Q2.
“Qualifying was disappointing for us, unfortunately, and there’s nothing good to say about it,” admitted Schattling. “We need to greatly improve our car and our performance. Gary and Pascal achieved the maximum today. Now we must analyse qualifying to find out why we lost time, especially in the third sector where there are lots of turns.”
Schattling remained cautious about the manufacturer’s chances improving on raceday.
“It’s difficult to judge what will be possible for us in the race, but this much is certain: we will not throw in the towel,” he added. “We are all fighters and will mount an all-out attack tomorrow. It won’t be easy, but we will not give up.”
The session was especially tough for DTM returnee Paul di Resta, who qualified on pole position in his last DTM event in 2010 when he took the title outright.
“It was a tough qualifying,” said di Resta. “It happens sometimes, and then you must simply roll up your sleeves and give it everything. We realise that we have to improve and get the car running better in order to be competitive. We’ll try now to find the right strategy for tomorrow.”