With three contenders for the title, and with a final race to be held on a very special street circuit like that of Norisring, the championship DTM 2021 presented all the possible conditions to give its fans a real grand finale, as unpredictable as it was full of anticipation on the eve. The twists were not in fact lacking, but in a way that was not in the least appreciated by the public: first of all for the accident occurred on departure between Lawson and Van der Linde, with the latter having violently rear-ended Ferrari’s New Zealand rival with a maneuver as risky as it is disastrous. Lawson, who until then held the leadership of the championship and of the race, had to abandon any possibility of defending his position due to the damage suffered, which forced him to proceed to last place without any possibility of comeback.
On the contrary, Van der Linde served a 5 second penalty, guilty of having been the sole responsible for this contact. The South African from Audi thus continued his dream of becoming the championship until a few laps from the end, thanks to a puncture that sent him into a spin. At that point, Götz saw, unexpectedly, the possibility of winning the title, succeeding in the very last stages of the race thanks also to a victory favored by a team order (not between teammates, but between drivers belonging to the same manufacturer, in this case Mercedes). All scenarios and episodes that aroused the anger and indignation of the President of the DTM, Gerhard Berger.
The former Austrian Formula 1 driver gave a long interview to the BILD, first underlining all his disappointment at what occurred in the final stages of Race-2 at Norisring: “I’ve slept badly in the last few nights – commented the 62-year-old – I have been a racing driver for 40 years, and my heart is sporty it cannot stand these artificial overtaking. If a driver takes a spontaneous initiative for the good of the team it is a question, but this must also be the limit. You cannot accept the fact that other teams tell their drivers to give up their position to favor someone else. Even in Formula 1 there are unacceptable examples from this point of view, both for the fans and for the other teams. I remember, for example, the wave of indignation that Ferrari received when it forced Barrichello to leave the victory to Schumacher. In our case, however, we are talking about an agreement between the teams, which is completely different from what I have just mentioned. I can’t tolerate it neither on a sporting level nor from a personal point of view, especially in our championship: I will work to ensure that a solution is found. For the DTM it was a shame“.
Also regarding the accident that took place at the first corner between Lawson and Van der Linde, Berger did not spare his bitterness for the controversial episode, this time at the beginning of the test: “AF Corse deserved to win the title reserved for teams – commented – but it is a limited joy if you are deprived of the fight for the drivers’ championship in this way. Lawson and Cassidy could have influenced the course of the race after this maneuver, for example by causing the Safety Car to enter, but this did not happen: for this reason I have to take off my hat in front of the Ferrari, because it demonstrated what sporting fairness means. At the same time, Van der Linde has far exceeded the limit. He performed an unacceptable maneuver both from a sporting and safety point of view. Previously, on Götz, he could have gone through a tough attack, but you can’t knock out the championship leader immediately and like that. As a DTM, we cannot support it ”.
In conclusion, Berger finally includes the complaints of the fans, who are also outraged by what happened both at the beginning and at the end of the last appointment of the 2021 season: “Both the Mercedes team order and the accident at the first corner – He admitted – they have generated not only controversy, but also damage to the image of the DTM. I am incredibly sorry for everyone who worked to make this series spectacular, conveying the message of hard-fought but fair racing where the best wins. This was not consistent with the championship finale, and I fully understand the sentiment from the fans. Götz has shown a very good pace throughout the season and I am happy with his victory, even if it is not his fault for this success with a bitter aftertaste. Finally, I don’t see Lawson as a loser: he was not defeated, but eliminated. It remains imy moral winner because he behaved correctly ”.