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Mueller Slams “Ridiculous” Driving Standards in Race 1

Nico Mueller calls out fellow drivers after 16 cars get eliminated in Saturday race…

Photo: DTM

Nico Mueller heavily criticized the driving standards of his fellow DTM drivers after Saturday’s frantic race at the Norisring, which saw just 11 out of 27 cars make the finish after various incidents.

Mueller was one of a number of drivers eliminated on the opening lap, when contact between Franck Perera and Arjun Maini at the first corner initiated a chain reaction that resulted in multiple collisions.

The first lap melee was just the first in a number of incidents throughout the race, which featured three appearances from the safety car and an additional full course yellow.

The latter of which was triggered by a heavy collision between Perera and Esteban Muth, triggered by an earlier contact between Perera and GRT Grasser Racing Team teammate Alessio Deledda.

Mueller later heavily criticized the driving standards of his fellow competitors, labeling it “an absolute jungle.”

“At the moment, the driving standards we see out there are just ridiculous,” Mueller said on the official DTM broadcast.

“Everybody should know by now that you don’t win the race by the first corner, but it seems like it is happening all over again.

“Every time they see lights going out, they all go nuts. Brains going out, I guess.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s very frustrating, the car is completely damaged all around after a great start, in the middle of turn one, spun in front of me and I was completely pushed into the mess.

“An absolute jungle and it seems to keep on going like that. Not really the show that the fans that came out here numerously deserve, I think.

“Normally, this is not bumper cars, this is car racing, but today we unfortunately proved differently.”

Rene Rast, who finished the race in third position behind Thomas Preining and Dennis Olsen, suggested that the ABS system present in the GT3 cars that currently race in DTM could be a factor in the high number of collision, as it leads to drivers potentially taking greater risks.

“I think the cause for that is probably the ABS system,” said Rast, who was himself involved in a late-race collision with Olsen at turn seven. 

“We basically just jump on the brake pedal as hard as we can and hope that the car decelerates.

“Somebody tries a bit later, somebody a bit earlier, but in the end most of us are on the limit.

“Somebody misjudges the situation, and that is why we probably see those crashes.

“Without ABS, everybody would be much more careful because if you have a lockup, it ruins your whole race.

“So the ABS, especially at the Norisring, is causing a lot of these crashes.”

Schneider: Drivers Should Be “Punished Hard”

Five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider, who was in attendance in Nuremberg, said that drivers involved in the numerous incidents should receive harsh punishments for them, as he says it is the only way to ‘restore respect’.

Schneider, who himself took multiple Norisring victories throughout his lengthy DTM career, called for race control to address the driving standards displayed during the opening race of the weekend, saying it ‘is not what people like to see’.

“Norisring is always a very special race and many things can happen, but I thought that the drivers [should have] a bit more respect, especially in the first race,” Schneider told the official broadcast on Saturday.

“Because there is another race tomorrow and if you see how many cars retired with heavy accidents, this is not what the people like to see.

“I guess that the race director has to talk to them. I like action and I like light contact and this is also what the people are here for, but this aggression, just driving into each other, this is not racing.

“They should be punished hard, because it is the only way to get respect back. I don’t know how many cars we will see on the grid tomorrow, because there was heavy damage.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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