Formula 1, DTM & esports — 2018 has been a historic motorsports year for us

This year, the teams with the Mercedes star on the hood captured the Formula 1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship for the fifth consecutive year and achieved a hattrick in the final season of the DTM.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team came out on top in the inaugural season of the F1 Esports Pro Series!

Wait — before you all start heading to the comments field, let me make it clear that I know there are still around six weeks left in 2018 and one should not count their chickens before they’re hatched (another great use of a phrase!). Nevertheless, I’m firmly convinced that we can definitely be a little proud of what we’ve achieved thus far.

I would even go so far as to say that 2018 was one of the most successful years ever for all the Mercedes teams out there that race on both real and virtual circuits around the world — and that’s something to celebrate. In any case, I’m celebrating the year’s successes in this look back at 2018, and Toto Wolff also took some time to exclusively answer some questions of the Daimler employees in a video to show his appreciation for all true supporters and motorports fans within the company. This was originally just meant to be a Daimler-internal campaign – but I really wanted to share these three answers with you:

Formula 1 domination

Last week, I allowed myself to get carried away and publish a somewhat different type of motorsport report on the next-to-last race of this year’s Formula 1 season. This was mainly due to the fact that when the season started, it didn’t look at all like it would be in our favour. Scuderia Ferrari from Maranello had put together an incredibly impressive overall package for 2018, and for a time it even seemed that things might get really difficult for our team this year. Well, things are always close in Formula 1, but I think we found out once again what can be achieved when you take the word TEAM literally, so to speak: Together Everyone Achieves More!

The almost 1,500 members of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team have proved this once again in 2018. Our drivers, Lewis and Valtteri, turned in outstanding performances, with Lewis capturing the Drivers’ Championship (his fifth overall) and the team capturing the Constructors’ Championship as well – thanks to the points Lewis and Valtteri both claimed. Of course, the Constructors’ Championship was the icing on the cake – the only time a team won this title five times in a row so far was Ferrari back in the early 2000s.. In our case, I am pretty sure that you sometimes need a really intense fight that pushes you to these outstanding performances.

What our friends in Brackley and Brixworth did can only be described as sensational. I had the jitters, I screamed, I cheered, I bit my fingernails, and I cursed occasionally as well. But that’s what makes the passion for a sport such a great thing, don’t you think?

Thanks to the whole team for allowing me to experience these emotions — I wouldn’t want to have missed any of them!

DTM title in the final season!

Despite all the joy I feel, I’m a little sad about the fact that a very special racing series has come to an end, and I’m clearly not alone here. Our F1 Executive Director Toto Wolff hit the nail on the head in an extensive blog article he published about the last-ever DTM weekend after 30 years:

For me, the hustle and bustle at the Hockenheimring marks a very special moment. That’s because it will be our last DTM race with Mercedes, and thus also the last DTM racing weekend when I can be part of this wonderful team on the race track. Although it will be a very happy occasion, there will also be a touch of sadness. I’m sure that DTM and Mercedes will part on friendly and dignified terms.

Talk about a dignified parting! All good things come in threes, as they say… So why not a title hattrick for Mercedes-AMG? Gary Paffett captured his second DTM Drivers’ Championship (Paul Di Resta finished third), Mercedes-AMG won the Manufacturers’ Championship, and when the Team Championship was awarded, the entire podium was “under the stars”: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS (363 points) beat out Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS (P2, 294 points) and SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (P4, 261 points) for the Team Championship.

Honestly, what more could you ask for after 436 DTM races? How could anyone even come close to topping that and, more importantly, who would have predicted such an outcome at the beginning of the season?

Have I already explained the thing with the TEAM acronym? Yes, I did — scroll back up and you’ll see that our colleagues in the DTM series understand it as well.

Simply awesome!

F2 – George Russell wins!

We can really be happy with the wide range of expertise and talents we have in all our teams. Our Mercedes juniordriver George Russell just won the Formula 2 in Abu Dhabi with his Team ART Grand Prix. Next year we’ll see George driving for Willimas in the Formula 1.

George Russell Formula 2 Title

By the way, in August it was exactly George Russel who broke as our Reserve Driver the unofficial lap record around the Hungaroring in the W09 EQ Power+ and did the fastest lap ever recorded around the circuit. Can’t wait too see what this boy can do next year!

F1 Esports Pro Series — victory in the inaugural season

To round out the tremendous success we enjoyed in 2018, let’s congratulate Brendon Leigh, Dani Bereznay, and the whole Esports team on their victory in the F1 Esports Pro Series! Don’t forget, this was inaugural F1 Esports Pro Series season.

Our team won eight of the season’s ten races — Brendon captured the Drivers’ Championship and Dani finished second, which gave Mercedes a well deserved first-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship – in a competition in which everybody fights with the same cars and the same set-up.

For me as a real nerd and a sim racing enthusiast for many years, the things that are happening in the shadow of our Formula 1 team are simply magnificent. Esports have now firmly established themselves and attracted a huge global fanbase. The fact that we’re not just a trailblazer in terms of esports sponsoring but have also put together such a successful team makes me very proud and shows what we’ve got in store for the future.

Let’s not forget Sophia, Robert, and Niki!

Last but not least, it’s important to me personally to mention three special people from the Mercedes Motorsports family. First, there’s Sophia Floersch, who had an accident last weekend during the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix that left us all holding our breath. Sophia, we’re all pulling for you and hope you get well soon and back on your feet!

We also had to take a deep breath in August during the IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway in the U.S. Robert Wickens drove five years for various Mercedes DTM teams before switching over to the open-wheel car series in the U.S., where he was immediately able to show just how extraordinarily talented he is.

He captured pole position in his very first qualifying ever and was also named Rookie of the Year in May 2018.

Robert, we have you to thank not only for outstanding races but also for your warm personality and the way you have repeatedly shown how important it is for you to be not just a driver but also a member of the family. We wish you all the best!

Finally, there’s the one person who ignited my passion for Formula 1 racing like no other. I’m referring here to the Non-Executive Chairman of our Formula 1 team, Niki Lauda. Almost four weeks ago “The man with the red cap” was allowed to leave hospital after a lung surgery.

Niki, all the best to you! We all hope to soon see you back in the place where you belong — with the team!


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Sascha Pallenberg is Head of Digital Content at Daimler’s Communications.As an experienced online editor, he focuses on creating content at the interface between the automotive sector and the IT industry for Daimler online media.

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