Even if the official confirmation is still pending, which according to information from “Motorsport-Total.com” has to do with the difficult driver selection, it is clear that the AF Corse team will remain loyal to the DTM in 2022.
But how did DTM boss Gerhard Berger and his team manage to convince the Ferrari squad and financier Red Bull not to pull the plug on the project, despite the controversial season finale and the rumors of an exit?
“If something like this happens, you have to approach the matter proactively, talk to everyone involved,” clarifies DTM manager Frederic Elsner. “One party might be quicker to say: ‘Forget it!’ The others rather less.”
Elsner: Team order ban played a role
Elsner leaves no doubt that in this case it was a rather difficult birth to convince the decision-makers to stay. “After the season finale, that certainly wasn’t the only conversation we had to have,” he says.
The decision of the DTM umbrella organization ITR to ban team orders through the regulations may have played a not insignificant role. “We tried to regain trust with good work or good talks and good prospects for next year, which includes team orders,” confirms Elsner. “And I think we did quite well.”
Cassidy is also not a DTM candidate for AF Corse
Incidentally, it is still unclear who will pilot the two AF Corse Ferraris in the Red Bull and AlphaTauri designs, which is in the hands of Red Bull. New Zealander Nick Cassidy, who replaced Alex Albon in the season finale and was also considered a candidate for 2022, is at least not available for all eight season weekends of the coming season.
Because the 27-year-old ex-Super GT champion, who also has a Red Bull contract, will not only be taking part in the Formula E season at Virgin in 2022, which will have a collision with the DTM (Vancouver and Norisring) has. Cassidy was also recently confirmed by AF Corse to succeed Giancarlo Fisichella for the WEC season, sharing the #54 Ferrari 488 GTE with Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci.
As a result, he would also miss the DTM weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, because the Belgian weekend collides with Fuji’s guest appearance in the Endurance World Championship. That doesn’t make the situation easier when it comes to choosing a driver, because the Red Bull Juniors, who compete in Formula 2 and Formula 3, aren’t available either because there are five conflicting appointments with the DTM.