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Gary Paffett: ‘We’ve got to work really, really hard’

Gary PaffettGary Paffett has stressed the importance of Mercedes’ “working really, really hard” during the Winter to ensure that it does not suffer a repeat of the 2014 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season – the worst in its history.

Brit Paffett ended the championship second from the bottom of the standings, having scored just five points all year. It has been the 33-year-old’s worst season in the DTM since he joined the series in 2003.

“It’s Mercedes’ worst season in DTM and my worst season ever in motorsport,” said Paffett to TouringCars.Net. “It’s very easy to do better than this which is positive – we’ve got to be back racing at the front.

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“The way we’ve been building the team – we’ve got a change of personnel, a change of structure in the team, a different car now than we had at the start of the year – we’ve just got to work at it. There’s no easy thing to do in motorsport, unfortunately. It’s not a case of throwing a bit of money at it, or putting a few bits of carbon on the car and you’re going to be winning, it’s constant hard work which is what’s going to get us there and that’s what we’ve got to do over the winter.

“We’ve got to work really, really hard. The drivers have got to work hard to give the engineers the information about what we need from the car and what we need to do, and the engineers need to go away and put their heads together and think about how they can put that to use – that’s what it’s going to be all about.”

Paffett only finished in the points on two occasions in 2014, scoring a best result of eighth at the rain-affected Oschersleben race in May. It has been an up-and-down season for Paffett, who has twice made it into Q3 in qualifying, but has struggled to regularly find form in the races. He puts some of the problems down to a lack of consistency with Mercedes’ C-Coupé this year.

“The other guys have had a whole year to work on set up and getting the most out of the package that they’ve got,” added Paffett. “We’ve got new suspension and we’ve got new aerodynamic parts on the car, so we’ve only had one weekend of trying to set it up and that’s the difficulty.

“We arrived on Friday with what we guessed was our optimum performance set-up. But the car was very hard to drive – very inconsistent. It probably was the quickest way to go, but it was too inconsistent, so we had to dial that out a bit and try and make the car more driveable and more consistent. By doing that we ended up with a car that was driveable and was fairly consistent but we just lacked a bit of pace.

“The balance isn’t there and that’s the issue. It’s good because we’ve got a lot of areas where we can gain time. It’s not as if the car’s perfect – we’re still not on the pace, we do have areas to work on and we have areas that we can improve over the winter which is obviously positive.”

Paffett has also been getting involved in the newly-formed DTM Drivers’ Association (DTMDA) in 2014, and admits that he and the other drivers have been trying to contribute to ways of making the races more exciting whilst also rewarding the best drivers.

“The strategy call says that there’s a fastest way from the start to the end of the race based on what tyre you start on. But when you have a safety car it just throws that out of the window and it’s pot luck,” explained Paffett. “It’s difficult to judge what to do in the moment. Next year will be different as there’s only going to be one tyre. I guess there’s going to be some changes to the race format as well.

“I think we’re getting quite involved with the DTMDA we set up this year. We’re in constant conversation with our manufacturers, the DMSB and the ITR over how, from a driver’s point of view, we think things should change to make it better. We’re trying to go about it in a way that we want to make racing more interesting for fans – it’s not a case of driver’s just wanting to go quicker. We want to make the racing interesting.

“We want to be able to overtake each other, but we want it to be in a way that’s fair. We’re working very hard on that side as well, as drivers, to try and help. It is a case of helping the DMSB and the ITR to steer the series in the right direction so we can make the racing better and more realistic, or less fabricated, than it is perhaps if we get a safety car at the right or the wrong time, and also make it interesting and exciting for the fans.

“We want to see racing and we want to see people overtaking each other, but the problem is at the moment when you have option and prime tyres, a lot of the overtakes – although they look like overtakes – they’re just people letting each other past.”

Gary Paffett Season Results


Driving a DTM Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Coupé (#11) for EURONICS AMG Mercedes.
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Result 12 8 R 12 16 17 15 13 19 10
Grid 14 17 21 5 20 19 23 8 10 16

View complete career results

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