Showdown in Mexico City: #5

I’m an avowed fan of Formula 1. And I must confess this was one of the most epic racing weekends I can recall. It’s rare that one gets the opportunity to closely observe when individuals become legends and teams truly seal to become the absolute best in the world. That’s what just happened.

As a fan I want to thank all drivers and teams for strong competition in every race so far, including the latest showdown in Mexico. I’ve been following closely and I saw a lot of fantastic sportsmanship and fair rivalry. As CEO my congratulations of course go out to our early champion Lewis Hamilton and the entire Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team. Together, you guys really created something extraordinary in the long history of racing!

2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018:

Lewis, this is your era in Formula 1

With this final lap, Lewis punched his well-deserved ticket to join that super exclusive club of just three drivers who’ve won five or more championships in Formula 1. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with all three of them at Mercedes-Benz. Each of those drivers dominated an era in motorsports – in his own way. Each is a very special personality and great athlete.

During my time at Mercedes-Benz Argentina, for instance, the awesome sportsman, 5-time world champion and dear friend Juan Manuel Fangio literally had his office next door to mine – although long after he’d retired from motorsports. He remained close to our brand as Mercedes-Benz Argentina’s honorary president.

It was another great honor that Michael Schumacher, 7-time champion and the greatest of all, spent some of the latter years of his incredible career in a Mercedes Silver Arrow. His feedback on our racecar and team set an important foundation to our future success. Michael ultimately handed the cockpit over to Lewis in 2013.

With that the most recent era of Mercedes domination in motorsports began – now crowned by five drivers’ world championships in a row for the team, four of which with Lewis as driver. Even as the success grew Lewis never stopped pushing himself to get even better. And so did the team. Again and again. It’s huge what they have achieved over the past years and how far they have come through tremendous passion, hard work and a lot of outstanding expertise.

Shifting gears in Mercedes motorsports

We’re topping off an outstanding Formula 1 season with more Mercedes motorsport victories: After 30 successful years we’re pulling out of “Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM)” – a popular touring car series in Germany. And we’re leaving with our heads held high: as the reigning triple champion. My congratulations go to Gary Paffett as the best driver, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS as the best team and Mercedes as this season’s best manufacturer. I guess it can’t get any better than walking away with this clean sweep.

I don’t want to miss the chance to add my thanks to Audi and BMW for many years of strong DTM competition, for their kind and respectful farewell notes – and for letting us steal the trophy one more time …

We’ll see you guys again on the racetrack, that’s for sure! Because leaving DTM by no means indicates that Mercedes – a brand that was literally born on a French racetrack – would turn its back on racing and competition outside Formula 1. Starting in late 2019, our new Mercedes EQ Formula E team will strive for pole positions and victories in the ABB FIA Formula E racing series. So, we’ll put more of our experience, expertise and resources in emission-free racing in the future. That pretty much parallels what we’re doing with our portfolio of all-electric cars, vans, trucks and buses. And we’ll continue to transfer technology and know-how from the racetrack to the road.

Racing has always been and will always remain a crucial part of our Mercedes DNA. As we celebrate Lewis and his 5th championship in Formula 1 I’m already looking forward to winning a lot more trophies in the future. #HiFive


Dieter Zetsche is Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.