Scheider gets new Audi offer after being sacked from DTM

Timo Scheider has revealed he could yet continue as a factory Audi driver next season despite being dropped from the German marque's DTM line-up.

Scheider gets new Audi offer after being sacked from DTM
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM.
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Grid girl of Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM.
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM; Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Timo Scheider, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM

The two-time champion gave a press conference during the final weekend of the season at Hockenheim, where he revealed he had been phoned by his Audi bosses just two days prior to be informed he was no longer needed for next season.

However, as Scheider explained on Sport1, there was "some happy news" after "all that drama" during the last DTM round of the 2016 season.

"On Sunday I had a meeting with Audi chairmen Mr Stadler and Mr Voggenreiter," he said. "They told me they very much wanted to work with me in the future."

According to Scheider, it's still early days. "We need to discuss this," he added, as no deal is in place as of yet. And the German wants to have a look at all his options for 2017 first.

He is set to compete in the World Rallycross finals in Argentina later this year, but his future beyond that is completely open. "We'll see what's on the menu for next year," Scheider said.

Opinion: Audi handled Scheider's exit poorly

Audi didn't do itself any favours in throwing out two-time champion Scheider right on the eve of the last race weekend of the season at Hockenheim.

The man with the longest career of all the drivers in the field was informed by phone that his DTM career was coming to an end. The only man to defend his title in the series, besides Bernd Schneider, thrown out - plain and simple.

While the news broke on the Saturday of the Hockenheim weekend, the decision to jettison Scheider was surely taken some time before that, despite the insistence of all three manufacturers that driver decisions would only be dealt with once the season had come to a close.

This is clearly what Scheider thought, too. He was taken completely by surprise, a fact he made very clear in what was a very emotional press conference.

He didn't hold back with his criticism on how Audi dealt with him and how the decision of when and how to retire was taken completely out of his hands.

Of course, he wanted to continue in DTM, and didn't ever imagine that Hockenheim would be his swansong in the series.

All of that said, Scheider's recent results (he was 22nd in the 2016 standings with only 13 points, the worst tally of every full-timer besides Dani Juncadella) certainly justified Audi's decision to not renew his contract.

But that doesn't change the fact that the situation should and could have been handled much differently.

The German lived and breathed Audi for more than 10 years like no-one else in the paddock, and with back-to-back DTM titles in 2008 and 2009 he played a major part in manufacturer's successes in the championship.

How easy it would have been to let Scheider retire in style, as BMW did with another underperforming past champion, Martin Tomczyk.

Instead, Audi has left a very bitter taste in the mouth.

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