(Motorsport-Total.com) – Sad news for DTM fans: After ADAC acquired the DTM from former owner Gerhard Berger, Red Bull has pulled the plug on a DTM project undertaken with Ferrari and the AF Corse team.
© Red Bull / Julian Krohl
The Red Bull-funded AF Corse DTM project ends after two years
According to information from ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, the decision has been made – and taken at Red Bull’s headquarters in Fuschl, although the go-ahead has already been given for the 2023 season.
This meant the end of the DTM for the AF Corse team headed by sporting director Ron Reichert, because financing for the project and the drivers was provided by the Austrian energy drink group.
Berger: “Red Bull has something to do with me personally”
The decision to shelve the project after the ADAC takeover didn’t come as a complete surprise given the close relationship between Red Bull and former DTM boss Berger that has existed since the 1980s, even if ADAC still wanted to talk to those in charge.
In a detailed interview with ‘Motorsport-Total.com’ about selling the DTM rights to ADAC about two weeks ago, Berger had already indicated that he thought it was possible for Red Bull to exit DTM.
“Red Bull is inextricably linked with me through our partnership of nearly forty years,” Berger said. “That’s why it can happen like this. That decision is now up to Red Bull.”
Why the Red Bull project was so important to the DTM
The 63-year-old former Formula 1 driver met Red Bull president Dietrich Mateschitz, who died in 2022, in 1985 at the Austrian Grand Prix in Zeltweg, and in 1989 he was the first motorsport driver ever sponsored by Red Bull.
In addition, Berger was co-owner of the Red Bull Formula 1 racing team Toro Rosso from 2006 to 2008 – and has excellent connections with the global Austrian company. When, at the end of 2020, he managed to persuade Formula 1 rivals Red Bull and Ferrari into a joint venture in DTM, this caused a change in the attitude of manufacturers such as Mercedes-AMG.
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The appeal of the two well-known brands from Formula 1 also made DTM interesting as a marketing stage after the switch to GT3 cars, as the star brand returned to the traditional series and made a decent starting field possible. After two years, the successful project – Liam Lawson becoming champion last year, AF Corse taking the team classification in 2021 – is now close to completion.
What will happen to Red Bull’s DTM drivers Cassidy and Fraga
This was also pointed out by Red Bull driver Nick Cassidy, who was also due to be a driver for 2023, after taking two DTM wins in a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, in a Formula E test drive in Valencia last week.
Because of the overlapping scheduling, Envision driver Nick Cassidy will have his full focus on Formula E this year and turn his back on DTM. Meanwhile, three-time DTM winner Rene Rast wants to compete in both competitions.
“I’d like to drive in a DTM if that’s possible. I had a great time there, I’ve developed a lot. But I don’t think that will be possible next year,” said the New Zealander, who will compete in the World Cup. The Envision team’s electric racing series will start again, compared to “ran.de”.
Plus, apart from Red Bull, Cassidy had a contract with AF Corse at WEC last year. It is therefore very likely that the 28-year-old will drive for the Italian team as well as Formula E in 2023. In addition, there is no overlap between the Formula E and WEC calendars.
Fraga returns to the Brazilian auto series
In 2022, the second AF Corse Ferrari in Red Bull design will be driven by Brazilian Red Bull team driver Felipe Fraga, who will present the Brazilian Blau Motorsport team in the Brazilian Touring Car Championship on December 19 in Sao Paulo.
The 27-year-old returns to the series after three years, making history as the youngest champion in 2016 and in which former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello won the title in 2022.
Like his DTM program in 2022, Fraga wants to combine commitment with entries in the IMSA Sports Car Championship, but he doesn’t have a contract for that yet. However, staying in the DTM is unrealistic anyway due to the overlaps between the Brazilian Touring Car Championship and the DTM calendar.
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