SportF1How George Russell almost ended up in the DTM...

How George Russell almost ended up in the DTM and not in Formula 1

The 2022 DTM season promises to be a real show, with a grid of 30 drivers of which, according to Rene Rast, up to 20 could fight for the championship.

This year it has big names among its members. Some include multiple rally champion Sébastien Loeb , current DTM winner Maximilian Götz, former champion Rene Rast and GT stars such as Laurens Vanthoor and Mirko Bortolotti.

George Russell ‘s name could also have appeared on the list of entrants. The Briton was on the verge of reaching an agreement to participate in the German championship a few years ago, but not with the team for which he currently races in Formula 1, but with his great rival, BMW.

In December 2015, Russell, then just 17 years old , was invited by BMW to the Young Drivers event held in Jerez. In what had been his first year in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the young Briton had been unable to get past sixth place in the final standings and needed to consider all the proposals that were coming his way.

At a time when he was underfunded and without the support of an F1 team, Russell had to weigh his options for the following season. The offer to test drive a DTM car came at just the right time.

George Russell, segundo por la derecha, presta atención a las explicaciones de Jesse Krohn

George Russell, second from right, pays attention to Jesse Krohn’s explanations

The young man made an immediate impression. Even Tom Blomqvist, a regular DTM driver who served as a reference for the drivers invited to the test, was surprised.

“In that test with the DTM car he was super fast,” recalls Blomqvist in a conversation with “I had to do a few laps during the lunch hour, but he improved my time! Of course, that was also due to the circumstances, but he did very well.”

George Russell, the fastest by far

The three-day test also saw current BMW factory drivers Jesse Krohn and Alex Sims in action, as well as Swiss driver Louis Deletraz . Russell got into the car on the first day and a half, and was the fastest on the track.

“He was much faster than the others,” confirmed Blomqvist. “I don’t remember exactly, but the difference was more than half a second. And he was also faster than my times, although you can’t draw many conclusions from that because he drove in the morning and I drove in the afternoon heat.” .

The work of Blomqvist, who took his only DTM win at Oschersleben in 2015, was a benchmark for young talent. He did not spend much time on the track, since the test was not made for him. “Even when there were questions, I was there to answer them. It’s always good to talk to an experienced driver when driving a DTM car for the first time.”

Blomqvist has very good memories of Russell. “You could tell quickly that he was very confident,” said the rally legend’s son, Stig. “He was very focused, despite being incredibly young. He asked a lot of questions, he was tremendously interested in the details.”

Also, the current Mercedes Formula 1 driver did not have a driving license at the time. “I had to pick him up at the airport. He was too young and couldn’t drive yet,” laughs Blomqvist, remembering. Even now, the Brit can hardly believe how quickly it took Russell to master the car, even though it was his first time in a roofed car.

“Really, the most impressive thing was his speed, especially in qualifying on fresh tyres. The way he was driving the car, he got the hang of it very quickly. I don’t know if he had adapted his driving style to the DTM car, but he adapted to it very quickly.

Why didn’t Russell stay in the DTM and go to Formula 1?

After the test, Blomqvist lost sight of Russell, even though the current Formula 1 driver was, in his own words, BMW’s “unofficial reserve driver” in the DTM in 2016. sign a contract as a factory driver in 2017.

“The salary was huge, and DTM is probably second best to Formula 1. I was determined to go and sign that contract with BMW,” Russell reflected on the official F1 podcast, Beyond the Grid , two years ago.

However, that signature never came. Russell received a call from Frenchman Gwen Lagrue , who had just been appointed head of the Mercedes development programme, as the Briton was the first driver Lagrue wanted to sign. The deal was closed quickly and Russell proved that the trust in him paid off as he won the GP3 and GP2 titles before making his way to Formula 1.

The rest is history.

Schedules of the Valencia GP of MotoGP in Cheste and how to see it

The Cheste circuit hosts this weekend, from November 4 to 6, the 2022 MotoGP Comunitat Valenciana GP. See the schedules and all the information.

"Don't talk to me!": Danni Büchner makes a clear announcement to hated party guests

Danni Büchner is invited to Sam Dylan's Halloween party. But the "Goodbye Germany" emigrant has no desire for many other party guests. And find clear words.

King Charles III Portrait now on the first coin: Serious change to the Queen

Charles III first coins with his portrait are there. Coin lovers immediately discover two striking differences.

Unknown colourfulness

Bird Species Discovered on Islands in Indonesia

Braking was tricky

Apart from that, everything worked like a picture book for the railway world record in Switzerland