The announcement of Audi’s withdrawal was criticized for its timing. Do you regret it?
There is not really a good timing to deliver such information. We decided not to retain it, in order to warn all players in the DTM, so that the ITR has as much time as possible to find solutions so that its championship continues. I think they have time to prepare for it.
The decision was therefore taken very recently, when rumors have been going on for months …
It was taken very recently and made public immediately. As for the rumors, if all of them turn out to be correct, Audi would be in F1 today!
Did the lack of consensus around using even more common elements, including the engine, motivate this decision?
I don’t think you can have a lot more common rooms. Yes, there have been discussions about the engine, but these disputes are not the main reason for our departure. We are studying new strategies and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the automotive industry has played a role in our thinking. There was really no alternative.
Gerhard Berger wanted to bring the DTM to the hybrid, then the 100% electric by 2025. Was that not enough to convince you?
It was a global decision, by the group, which defined other strategies. Discussions about a hybrid DTM program were certainly advanced, but they weren't as advanced on all-electric.
BMW criticizes Audi’s argument that it is putting all its efforts into Formula E, arguing that it is there too. How do you respond to that?
Audi has done a lot to support the DTM in recent times: we were the first to reintroduce the concept of private stables, which allowed the championship to survive the departure from Mercedes. We are also very involved in the renewal of television contracts. Question implication, I think we had nothing to blame us.
Were all the efforts for "Class One" in vain?
Time will tell. The prospects were not encouraging, but we did these two joint races which proved that it could work.
Was the prospect of a two-manufacturer championship unbearable?
That's exactly it, and it has been at the center of our concerns since Mercedes retired. Audi had extended its contract with the DTM for the period 2018-2020, but on condition that there are three brands on the grid. Aston Martin was there in 2019, but we didn't see anything concrete coming out of this duel situation.
Is it imaginable to see RS5 operated by private teams?
The subject was not discussed. This is a question that agitates the media, but from experience, it requires a big financial effort, and I am not sure that there are so many interested customers.
How do you see the outfit for the 2020 season?
In Germany, we see the end of the tunnel. Football will soon resume and I am fairly optimistic that it will soon settle for motorsport. Maybe in July. But I understand ITR, which doesn't want to communicate as long as an ad can be contradicted by decisions from above. That doesn’t mean they’re standing idly by.
What will happen to your six official pilots?
It is a little early to reveal anything. We will work with them to find the best solution for them.