DTM Gerhard Berger: “Stall order was absolutely unacceptable”
High tension until the final, three drivers from different brands who could still become champions, thousands of fans on the traditional grandstands at the Norisring. The field for a worthy DTM season finale was prepared. But the DTM weekend at the Norisring ended with a shit storm. Because Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde brutally cleared championship leader Liam Lawson. And because Max Götz became a master thanks to a Mercedes stable order.
DTM boss Gerhard Berger (62) had admitted his understanding for the action in Nuremberg on Sunday. He sees it differently now. The Austrian is now taking a position in BILD.
“To be honest: I slept really badly the last few nights,” he says. “I have been a motorsport enthusiast through and through for 40 years and my athlete’s heart cannot cope with such artificial shifts. If a driver makes a decision in the interests of the team on his own initiative, that’s fine. But that is also the limit. It is absolutely unacceptable if teams or drivers are instructed to give up their position in order to shift the advantage elsewhere. “
The fact that stall orders were and are also practiced in Formula 1 is not an argument for Berger to defend the events at the Norisring.
The DTM boss: “Especially in Formula 1 there are many examples that are not sporty from the point of view of the fans and the other teams. I just remember the wave of indignation Ferrari was confronted with by the fans when Rubens Barrichello gave up victory for Michael Schumacher in his day. In our case, however, we are talking about a cross-team arrangement. This is a completely different quality that I can neither personally nor personally accept on our platform. That means: The topic is not off the table and I will personally work for a future solution. “
“AF Corse deservedly won the team championship, as did Mercedes the manufacturers’ title. But if your title chances are taken away in this way in the last race, you can certainly understand that the joy at Ferrari is limited. The team or the two drivers Lawson and Cassidy would have had various options for influencing the course of the race after this maneuver, for example by provoking a SafetyCar deployment. That didn’t happen. So I have to take my hat off to Ferrari and AF Corse at this point: They have shown what sporting fairness is all about. “
The former Formula 1 star, on the other hand, has no understanding for Abt-Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde and his ramming against Liam Lawson.
“In my opinion, Kelvin van der Linde has overshot the mark,” says Berger. “His behavior in Turn 1 was not acceptable – neither in terms of sport nor safety. The tough maneuvers against Götz can perhaps still be booked under tough racing. But we as a platform cannot support the fact that he took the championship leader out of the race in the first corner, but in the end it is a matter for the sports authorities. “
One thing is certain: Berger understands the shitstorm of the fans. It is particularly annoying because the Austrian fought so hard to survive the series.
Berger: “Both topics, the Mercedes stable order and the van der Linde maneuver, not only sparked discussions, but also caused damage to the DTM. I am extremely sorry for all those involved who have contributed to the attractiveness of the DTM this season and who have done everything to ensure that the DTM stands for tough, fair racing right up to the last race, in which the best wins. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do that in the final and we are far behind in the favor of the fans. “
Alone: Götz is still a worthy champion for him.
“Maximilian showed a constant, good performance over the entire season – so I’m happy for him,” says the Tyrolean. “Maximilian cannot help that the championship title has a somewhat bland aftertaste for other reasons.”
According to Berger, Ferrari’s Red Bull Junior Liam Lawson remains the winner of the hearts.
“Personally, I don’t see Lawson as a loser because he didn’t lose but was taken out of the last race. He behaved fairly in terms of sport and is the moral winner for me. “
Honest words with which Berger wants to reconcile the DTM fans.