Site logo

Mercedes revives junior team

NEWS STORY
02/04/2012

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its successful young driver programme in 2012 with a junior team for the German Touring Car Masters.

Roberto Merhi, Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens will be contesting the world's most popular touring car series behind the wheel of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe as members of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team.

Serving as role model and mentor to the Junior Team will be Michael Schumacher; the veteran Mercedes F1 driver will bring all his experience to bear from seven world championship titles and 91 Grand Prix victories. Schumacher himself also benefited from the Mercedes-Benz programme in the years 1990 and 1991, when he lined up alongside Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger with Sauber Mercedes in the Sports Prototype Championship. All three subsequently succeeded in making the step up to Formula One.

Christian Vietoris enters his second DTM season in 2012. The 23-year-old finished his rookie season on four points, his best race result being fifth place in the race at Oschersleben. Roberto Merhi and Robert Wickens are both about to make their DTM debut this season.

Merhi has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz young drivers programme since 2008, winning the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series title in a Dallara-Mercedes as well as the first-ever FIA Formula 3 International Trophy. As a reward for this success, he was invited to test drive the new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé at the end of the 2011 season.

Wickens won the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 World Series championship, posting five victories along the way. Later that same year, he gained his first experience of Formula One in a series of test drives for Marussia Virgin Racing and Lotus Renault GP. In 2009, he finished second in the Formula 2 standings, repeating this result in the GP3 Series the following year.

Encouraging young talent has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz. Since the inaugural Formula 3 Euro Series in 2003, 13 drivers have made the breakthrough to F1 after learning their trade with a Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. 33 percent of the grid for the 2012 F1 season started out in Formula 3 with a Mercedes-Benz engine - reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and former champion Lewis Hamilton, 2010 DTM Champion Paul Di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna.

The Mercedes-Benz young drivers programme can also point to similar successes in other top motor racing series. Of the nine Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers in the 2011 season, five (i.e. more than half) competed in Formula 3 with Mercedes-Benz engines.

"It's a dream come true for me to have been promoted to the Mercedes-Benz DTM Junior Team," said Merhi. "Having a Mercedes-Benz Junior Team in the DTM is a fabulous idea, and it's the perfect way for me to advance my career. Without this talent development scheme which Mercedes-Benz have been running successfully for so many years, I wouldn't be where I am now. It's a great honour to be following in the footsteps of all the many famous drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Jamie Green and Paul Di Resta, knowing that they have had the backing of Mercedes-Benz and went on to win championship titles in the Formula 3 Euro Series, in Formula 1 and in the DTM."

"I feel very much at home in the Mercedes-Benz family and in this particular race environment," added Vietoris, "so I am all the more delighted to be one of the three drivers in the new Mercedes-Benz Junior Team. I hope to establish a long-term relationship with Mercedes-Benz in the world's most popular touring car series, and I'm aiming to make a persuasive case for myself out on the track."

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2020. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms