DTM teams confirm six-car line-ups a possibility for 2017

Audi and Mercedes have confirmed that a reduction to six DTM cars per manufacturer is currently being evaluated for next year.

DTM teams confirm six-car line-ups a possibility for 2017
Press Conference, Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director, Dieter Gass, Audi Sport, Ulrich Fritz, Mercedes AMG
Robert Wickens, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM Audi Sport and Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM Audi Sport with his drivers
Martin Tomczyk, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Bruno Spengler, BMW Team MTEK, BMW M4 DTM; Timo Glock, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
Edoardo Mortara, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi RS 5 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Qualifying: Polesetter Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM;third Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM; second place Robert Wickens, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM, Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team ART, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM, Robert Wickens, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM, Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM

The DTM has featured a packed 24-car field for the past two seasons, with Mercedes, Audi and BMW all running eight-car line-ups across four teams.

However, reports have emerged during the 2016 season that a potential scaling down to six cars across the board was on the table for next year, and both Audi and Mercedes have now confirmed it is indeed an option.

Audi Sport's head of DTM Dieter Gass told Motorsport.com: "Well, there is discussions, yes. It is a possibility, definitely. But I think we will have further communication on that once the complete package is a bit more clear.

"Since the manufacturers and the organisation are in intense discussions about the future of DTM since August last year, a lot of things have happened, a lot of plans have been made and ideas have been discussed and this is one of the ideas.

"But I think, first, what concerns next year, you want to get a bit of a better view on what the situation really is before we make a communication."

Asked about the likelihood of the measure being taken, Mercedes' head of DTM Ulrich Fritz told Motorsport.com: "It's difficult to say about likelihoods and percentages, but we are trying to make the product better and, one the one hand, we need to increase the mileage we can get out of it - but on the other hand it's also important to control the costs.

"And, certainly, the less cars you have in the field, the less costs and that's why we're discussing that at the moment.

"In general, with all your programmes you are doing, you have to evaluate costs against the benefits - and therefore you always try to optimise the input on that side.

"Reducing cars is a big step and that's why we started this discussion, because, in the end, if you can reduce cars, you will definitely save a lot of costs without hampering the product and the performance."

BMW's motorsport director Jens Marquardt, meanwhile, did not go into specifics, but said a wide range of measures was being discussed.

He told Motorsport.com: "We have discussed a lot of things, obviously, being very cost- and efficiency-cautious over the last year. Anything has been discussed and really looked into and we're still in the stage of finalising the package for next year.

"And I think it's really something where you have to say, you don't really look at individual parts, you look at the overall package, we're making a complete new rules package for next year on a technical side, on the basis of what we have right now. There will be a new aero package, there will be a new suspension, engine side, everything.

"And once the whole package is clear, that will be communicated. And, for sure, cost and efficiency in that respect play a major role, apart from having a spectacular series and best possible racing for our fans."

Paffett: More manufacturers wanted

Mercedes DTM stalwart Gary Paffett, who has represented the marque in the series since 2003, said that DTM needs "more manufacturers to come and fill the grid".

Regarding the six-car proposal, Paffett said: "It's obviously not great, for us more cars is better, but the costs of running eight cars for manufacturers are extreme.

"The ideal thing would be to have more manufacturers come in and fill the grid. That's what we want, for people to come in and bring some cars in, that's the aim.

"I understand, for Mercedes to run eight of these cars is very expensive and I understand the reasons. Obviously I wouldn't want it [scaling down] to happen but, you know. It's still 18 cars, 18 really competitive cars so I don't think it's a big issue."

Paffett's sentiments were echoed by his boss Fritz: "Generally, we would welcome additional manufacturers, that is definitely not the issue here.

"But also 18 cars can create spectacular racing, that is for sure - and from there, I think, everything is possible. It's a way to reduce costs, that's for sure.

"And you don't have to ask me why there is no fourth manufacturer - we would be delighted to have additional competitors in the series, that is clear."

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