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'Maybe fewer German kids are carrying on the F1 dream'

'Maybe fewer German kids are carrying on the F1 dream'

18 January - 16:33

GPblog.com

Once upon a time, Germany was a real motorsport country, with the requisite top drivers in various classes. Formula 1 was booming mainly thanks to Michael Schumacher, while the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) was one of the leading racing classes in the world. Since then, everything has changed.

By necessity, the DTM has had to change its DNA in recent years, simply to survive. In addition, in terms of top drivers in general, German racing is thin on the ground, especially now that Sebastian Vettel has retired and Mick Schumacher is on the reserve bench at Mercedes. One of the figureheads of German motorsport these days is René Rast, currently racing in Formula E for McLaren. Rast is a three-time DTM champion and wildly popular domestically.

Big names

GPblog asked Rast why Germany currently has - although the seasoned Nico Hulkenberg (35) will race for Haas next season - no top names in Formula 1? And - more worryingly - why hardly any talent is breaking through from the junior classes? "It’s difficult to say," said Rast, who himself never had an opportunity to drive in Formula 1.

"We had two big names in Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1. When they were on top of their games in Formula 1, we had lots of young kids wanting to chase a dream of Formula 1.

"For many years now, there’s no German top driver in Formula 1 so maybe less kids chase the dream in Germany. It’s quite obvious we are missing a bit of German talent and drivers in karting. Hopefully, that will change soon."

Changes

Mercedes have been a factor in Formula 1 for years. Audi will join in 2026, when Sauber becomes their factory team. In terms of manufacturers, Germany is well represented. However, Rast warns against too much optimism. 

"In terms of money and manufacturers, they change the programmes. Audi went to F1, Mercedes did F1 then FE. Just the programmes are changing from every manufacturer, we can see that everywhere in the world. In WEC lots of manufacturers are joining, at one point they will drop out again so it’s changing all the time," Rast said.

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