Timo Scheider, Pascal Wehrlein, Red Bull Ring, 2015

“Push him out”: Audi sparks DTM furore

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Audi sparked outrage in the DTM as its driver Timo Scheider was thrown out of yesterday’s race at the Red Bull Ring after crashing into two of his Mercedes rivals on the orders of his team.

Meanwhile the IndyCar championship battle has tightened up with two races remaining after Graham Rahal took victory in Mid-Ohio.

Elsewhere for the second weekend in a row heavy rain meant at least one race was red-flagged and half points awarded despite no competitive action taking place.

DTM

Round 5: Red Bull Ring, Austria

Mattias Ekstrom, Audi RS5 DTM, Red Bull Ring, 2015The results of the second DTM race at the Red Bull Ring remain provisional pending an investigation into “a possible unsporting instruction via radio by the Audi Team Phoenix and/or Audi Sport”.

The drama began on the final lap of the rain-hit race when Audi’s Timo Scheider was overtaken by championship leader Pascal Wehrlein, who immediately moved ahead of team mate Robert Wickens. Moments later Scheider was told on the radio “schieb ihn raus” – “push him out” – and duly knocked Wickens into Wehrlein at turn three, leaving both in the gravel.

Immediately after the race Audi team boss Wolfgang Ulrich denied he had issued the instruction to Schieder. However in a statement issued by Audi later that evening Ulrich admitted he had spoken the words but did not know he was in open communication with Scheider and had not intended to give him an instruction.

It soured a weekend which began with Audi’s Edoardo Mortara declaring “here, we have the fastest car” before taking victory in race one. He profited from the misfortune of Jamie Green, who went into the race leading the points standings and seized the lead at the start, only to be sidelined by a gearbox failure on lap two.

Mattias Ekstrom doubled up for Audi in the second race, but whether they keep the silverware is now in the hands of the DTM’s sanctioning body, the DMSB.

Next race: Moscow Raceway, Russia (29th-30th August)

IndyCar

Round 14: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington

Graham Rahal, RLL, IndyCar, Mid-Ohio, 2015Juan Pablo Montoya saw his championship lead over Graham Rahal slashed from 42 points to 9 with two rounds to go.

On the undulating, sinuous and narrow Mid-Ohio circuit, where overtaking is especially difficult, Rahal lined up an unpromising 13th. He had worked his way up to sixth and had just pitted when Sage Karam caused the race’s third Safety Car period. With leader Montoya and several others still needing to pit, Rahal inherited the lead.

The RLL driver had to fend off a late attack from Justin Wilson following a fourth caution period caused by a collision between Rodolfo Gonzalez and Charlie Kimball. Despite Wilson having one ‘push-to-pass’ use left, Rahal clinched victory on his home track followed by Simon Pagenaud and pole sitter Scott Dixon, with Montoya an unhappy 11th.

Next race: Pocono Raceway (23rd August)

European Formula Three

Round 8: Red Bull Ring, Austria

European Formula Three, Red Bull Ring, 2015Rain sluiced the Red Bull Ring on Sunday, leading the third Formula Three race to be postponed and then, after four laps behind the Safety Car, red-flagged. That handed a half-points win to pole sitter Antonio Giovinazzi, extending his advantage over Felix Rosenqvist.

Jake Dennis won the first round after passing pole sitter Rosenqvist at the start, then resisting race-long pressure from his Prema team mate, which came to a head in the final two laps as the pair also came under attack from Giovinazzi.

Rosenqvist made pole count in race two but Giovinazzi limited the damage in the championship with second place ahead of Lance Stroll – the Ferrari development driver making his first appearance on an F3 podium.

Next race: Algarve International Circuit (5th-6th September)

World Rally Championship

Round 8: Finland

Jari-Matti Latvala’s championship hopes are as good as dead, but he was able to console himself with a third home victory in last weekend’s Rally of Finland.

Sebastien Ogier continued his run to the championship with second place, but the Volkswagen pair faced early pressure on from team mate Andreas Mikkelsen, Ford’s Ott Tanak and Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon. But as the treacherous Finnish stages claimed their victims one by one, the contest for victory became an exclusively Latvala-Ogier affair.

Robert Kubica was also in the wars again, and the final podium place was claimed by Mads Ostberg.

Next race: Germany (31st July – 2nd August)

V8 Supercars

Round 7: Queensland Raceway, Ipswich



Ford continued their domination at Queenland Raceway, which hosted a SuperSprint triple-header. Championship leader Mark Winterbottom took his seventh win of the year in race one ahead of Scott McLaughlin, who made his first trip to the podium this year. Winterbottom started second, but leapfrogged team mate Chaz Mostert and never looked back. Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen provided the race’s best action, trading paint on several occasions, but ultimately allowing Craig Lowndes through into the final podium position.

Winterbottom also took race two honours, getting past pole sitter Lowndes in turn two, and was once again unchallenged for his fourth straight win. Lowndes ended up in second while Mostert was third and David Reynolds picking up an impressive fourth place. Van Gisbergen suffered his first retirement since 2013 after suffering a transmission fault on the grid.

Mostert prevented a Winterbottom clean sweep in race three with a straightforward win from pole position. Craig Lowndes took second ahead of Winterbottom, the pair separated by 256 points at the top of the championship table.

Next race: Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek (22nd-23rd August)

NASCAR

Round 21: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond

Kyle Busch had a fourth consecutive NASCAR win in his sights when he ran out of fuel on the final lap at Pocono, letting team mate Matt Kenseth through to win. Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jnr were also among those who ran dry while trying to stretch their fuel economy.

The race was red flagged early on as Kasey Kahne crashed into the pit wall, which had to be repaired.

Next race: Watkins Glen International (9th August)

Also last weekend

The name of the second Indy Lights race-winner had a familiar ring to it – Sean Rayhall has only started half of the 14 races so far this year but took his second win. Max Chilton took second, as he had in the first race behind RC Enerson.

Title rivals Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot tangled on the opening lap of race one, meaning just six points separate them heading into the final weekend at Laguna Seca next month.

Over to you

Did you spot any interesting racing we’ve missed this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend we have the World Rallycross Championship, NASCAR and the BTCC returning after their summer break.

Thanks to @mathers for contributing to this article.

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  • 71 comments on ““Push him out”: Audi sparks DTM furore”

    1. The sleaziest move I’ve seen in the Motorsport for a long Time…

      1. Very disturbing – hope Timo Schneider’s team boss/engineer will be banned for a decent amount of races (preferably Audi Corporate takes early/additional action).

        1. -Timo Scheider should be banned for the rest of the season (from autosport, not just DTM);
          -Audi should at least be excluded from the DTM constructors championship, plus a hefty fine.

          By the way, this incident was the only “highlight” of the race. How does DTM make a rain race so tediously boring??

          1. -Dr. Wolfgang should be retired & fishing.

        2. Audi’s version of events in their press release makes for amusing reading:

          In sixth place, Timo Scheider in the AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM crossed the finish line. The two-time DTM Champion was cleverly slowed on the last laps by Mercedes driver Robert Wickens – presumably with the objective of helping his brand colleague Pascal Wehrlein. Following a fierce three-way battle, on braking, slight contact occurred between Scheider and Wickens, to which both Mercedes drivers fell victim.

          “That was obviously not a nice ending of an otherwise tremendous race,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “What was done with Timo was not the proper way to go about things. But it was most definitely not my intention that Robert (Wickens) and Pascal (Wehrlein) end up in the gravel trap. I’m sorry that I shouted, ‘Timo push him out’ in my initial emotion at the command post. I do not communicate with the drivers by radio during the race and did not know that the radio was open. This was not an instruction for Timo by any means. I can only apologise to Mercedes for this remark. An expression like that does not reflect my idea of motorsport, but was strictly due to the adrenaline at that moment. I’m a racer and was fuming about the way Timo was dealt with. It’s a shame that due to this incident a shadow has been cast on the impeccable performance delivered by Mattias and the entire Audi squad. Our Audi RS 5 DTM was the strongest car here, both in dry and wet conditions.”

          Of course we can’t talk about intentional crashes in the DTM without mentioning this notorious example:

          Video: Nannini’s revenge attack on Asch, 1994

          1. First, Scheider should have known better and ingnored the call;

            Second, Herr Aufrecht and his Audi crew were all smiles on the pit wall when the Mercedes’s hit the gravel, so I have my reservations about the sincerity of above press statement.

          2. This reminds me of a BTCC race I attended at Brands Hatch in the late 90s. I can’t remember the names, but a BMW had to retire due to some failure or other, but the team got him out to lap slowly with the specific intention of knocking off the rival car to help the other BMW. Does anyone else remember this? The crowd couldn’t quite believe what they had seen!

            1. Sounds like McLaren/Coulthard in the 1999 Japanese GP.

            2. @rm Is that when he crashed out Schumacher? Fairest of them all, Mr Coulthard!

            3. FlyingLobster27
              3rd August 2015, 17:41

              I don’t know about the late 90s, but there was the BTCC finale in 1992, in which Steve Soper (BMW) took John Cleland (Vauxhall) out, allowing Tim Harvey (BMW) to win the championship. I also remember Alfa Romeo hiring James Thompson as an extra driver for an ETCC finale or pre-finale, specifically to block, barge and torpedo BMWs.
              Touring cars can be quite cynical.

            4. @mattb, I think that you are thinking of Soper taking out Cleland in 1992. Soper had climbed back through the field to pass Cleland, proceeded to back Cleland into his team mate, Harvey, so he could pass him and then, when Cleland made an aggressive attempt to pass Soper, Soper then cut across the entry to Luffield and into the back of Cleland, handing the title to Harvey.

              However, I think that you’ve misremembered a number of key details. Instead of lapping slowly, Soper was actually lapping extremely quickly at the time – he’d fought his way from 21st back up to 6th place – and in some ways the crash actually hurt BMW, since it cost them their shot at taking the constructors title that year.

              Furthermore, some have argued that Cleland wasn’t entirely blameless either – he tried a late lunge up the inside of Soper into Brooklands, where he went into the side of Soper, just before the collision in Luffield. Soper did have a reputation for being hot headed and, with a lack of evidence for any orders from the team, there are those who think it’s more likely that Soper rammed Cleland out of rage (i.e. simply getting him back for hitting him in Brooklands).

          3. Same thing. Ban them. Typical nascar move.

          4. love the Nanini video, I would have done the same to be honest.

            For me the comment from Wolfgang that “he did not know the radio was open” is the sorriest choice of words to use, I would throw the book at him to be honest.

        3. This is worse than crashgate. Nelson Piquet Jr only endangered his own life. Here three were endangered.

          1. Gabor Vajda (@Gabor_V)
            3rd August 2015, 11:45

            The speeds were so low and the gravel trap was so deep that it couldn’t possibly have endangered the ‘life’ of the drivers per se. It all happened at the breaking point.

          2. Let’s not exaggerate. While I agree that it was completely uncalled for, T3 at Redbull ring has tons of gravel on the outside. Couple that with the relatively low speeds and we could say that neither of the three drivers were in any sort of real danger.

          3. LOL, are you serious???

      2. I think this incident highlights a problem with the concept of “less teams, more cars per team” that has been hotly debated in F1, too. If there are more entries per team / manufacturer, then it is more likely that some of these cars will act as supporting actors, not fight their own leaders and occasionally try to spoil the races of other teams’ spearheads.

        Of course, we know very well that two-car teams can also apply such a strategy and that even two different but related teams (e.g. RBR+ Toro Rosso or Ferrari + Sauber) can coordinate their actions. However, the current DTM set-up (3 manufacturers with 8 cars each) makes such unsportsmanlike team orders much more likely.

        That is another reason why F1 should avoid having teams with three or more cars.

        1. That is another reason why F1 should avoid having teams with three or more cars.

          Just what I was thinking @girts

          1. @lockup @grits Agreed. Also customer cars will cause the same problem.

      3. Oh come on. If you watch the video, you can see clearly the Mercedes is braking too early compared to the other cars. It looks like he was playing games with the Audi to protect the other Mercedes ahead. And he barely received a tap. I don’t see anything aggressive from the Audi. Not to mention, especially in those conditions, it would have been impossible for Scheider to see the the Mercedes in front of the Mercedes, so you can’t really plan to do something like this intentionally.

        The “push him out” “call” was not really a call. Dr Ullrich does not talk to the drivers.

        1. and Santa Claus is real too…

          1. Just watch the video. If anything unsporting was done, it will be in the data and the investigators will find it.

            This whole “scandal” is based on an emotional remark that somehow made it to the car radio. If you knew a thing about Dr Ullrich, you would have known he is not a racing engineer and doesn’t talk to the drivers

    2. @keithcollantine Wickens overtook Scheider a few laps before, Wehrlein then overtook both on that last lap (with little help from Wickens), and after that came the message/accident. Also, Ullrich said he didn’t have direct communication to the driver after the race, but it wasn’t clear to me from the following press release whether he said it to him, or if it was just between the engineers.

      I liked Wehrlein’s post race interview, especially this part:

      I hope that no one is buying an Audi next week.

      1. @hunocsi, in the video it was clearly said over the radio to Schneider (not sure by whom), and it sounded like a very deliberate instruction!

        1. @coldfly It was from Ullrich, sounded like him, and he pretty much admitted it. But it’s not clear for me if it was to the driver.
          http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/120205

          1. @hunocsi The German broadcast was clearer. He clearly says “Timo”:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCJkSTIbY1I

            1. So if he did say that to Scheider then he simply lied when he said this:

              “It can’t be from my side, because I’m not linked to any of the drivers directly. I only talk to the heads of the teams, so it can’t be me.”

            2. Yep, that intonation was an instruction, all day long – the clear enunciation, the spacing of the words, and the emphasis. Not exactly muttering to himself was it? The channel he didn’t know was open was the one to the broadcaster!

              Shocking.

            3. Pretty damning IMO, clearly like an instruction, not a “frustrated outcry” And what Schneider mentions in the interview is pretty clearly in constrast with what he did – he accelerated and pushed Wickens into Wehrlein.

    3. Interesting video on the LED technology; it shows pit stop time and Push to Pass as well.

      1. Yeah that’s very cool, the only changes I would suggest though is that they make them bigger and put some sort of filter because the unlit segments make it a bit confusing to see the numbers.

    4. I was at S10 of Rally of Finland. That was the first time for me attending professional racing event. Sadly Kubica had technical problems at the stage before S10, so I didn’t see him. :(

      Meanwhile at S10 there was a driver whose name is Juan Carlos Alonso. He also had technical problems with his car and he was driving approx. 20 km/h. Since I despise Fernando Alonso, I had a pretty wide smile at that moment.

      1. Alexander (@)
        3rd August 2015, 12:30

        How old are you??

        1. I understand why you’d ask such a question and you are right but it is still funny! LOL

      2. *Despise all people who have Alonso surname.

        1. @huhhii @ernietheracefan Gotta hate that Bayern Munich midfielder.

      3. Alonso is not even his surname. Isn’t there enough meaningless hate in the world already? Just enjoy the sport.

    5. Fits the driving mentality of the typical Audi on public roads, so Kudos for brand consistency there.

      1. @tamburello
        All he needed to complete the typical Audi driver mentality test would be to park over two disabled parking bays in the pit lane.

        1. Isn’t that more of a BMW driver TM @beneboy?

          1. @bascb
            Most BMW drivers switched to Audi around here several years ago so most of these jokes are interchangeable.

      2. @tamburello Haha, true. I wonder, while driving an Audi on the road do you hear the same kind of messages in your ear?

      3. Lol, by us it’s the BMW drivers who do that type of driving!

      4. You are like the guy who hates everyone surnamed Alonso. Look above.

    6. Apparently Karam’s spin is under review still. Montoya was definitely not impressed by it and it was somewhat alarmingly like Crashgate. The difference here being that it didn’t really work for Ganassi, because they now have to somehow close up on two different drivers, not just one.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        4th August 2015, 9:17

        I disagree @craig-o. The result was massively beneficial for Dixon, because not only did it promote him to the pointy end of the race, it completely ruined JPMs race. Ask yourself who would you rather be chasing with 2 races to go? JPM with a big lead, or JPM and Rahal with small leads? I know which I’d chooose… I’m not at all convinced Karam didn’t aim for that kerb.

        Maybe it will be a more even contest next year if Penske hire Nelson Piquet Jr, then Penskle and Ganassi have one tactical crash each per race.

    7. How is it that both IndyCar and DTM managed a suspicious crashgate-like incident in tandem?

    8. FlyingLobster27
      3rd August 2015, 11:27

      My initial reaction to the Scheider punt was an outburst of laughter. The DTM is so, so engineered. Its weight system engineered the alternate domination Mercedes and then BMW after Audi got a big start to the season, and stable-mates don’t fight, so the successive sweeps were rubbish to watch.
      Now the teams attempt to engineer the results to limit the damage their leaders take, as is the case with Wehrlein here. The convoluted plan with Wickens slowing Scheider worked… until Scheider daftly ran into Wickens, who collected Wehrlein, rendering the complex gamesmanship completely useless.

      As for the “order”, I don’t expect a lot will come out of it. If anything, “push him out” was aimed at Wickens who was being a nuisance, as per his own team orders. I agree with Scheider’s exclusion, the crash was his doing, but have no sympathy for Mercedes crying wolf. If it was an order, it was not aimed at stopping Wehrlein, who was frankly unlucky to be hit by his own roadblock.

      I’m not even sorry: it’s still funny.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        3rd August 2015, 11:28

        I forgot to mention: that was a mega race from Gary Paffett. The two drivers with the most wins in the DTMasters head to head was great.

    9. Graham Rahal and Sage Karam are not team mates. Rahal drives for his fathers team and Sage drives for Ganassi. However Karam’s spin was suspicious and could have been a way to bring teammate Scott Dixon back into contention (Dixon dominated the first part of the race but was delayed by a caution at the wrong time)

    10. The indycar was really good, Sage’s spin was a little suspicious and social media blew up with idiots who seemed to think he was Rahal’s team mate. It’s really tightened up the championship but I think Rahal will be hard pushed to win the title, he is a solo driver after all where as Ganassi and Penske have several drivers who can help their championship contenders – something that always helps on ovals of which we have 1 left. They do have the ridiculous double points for the last race of the season though, I’d like Rahal to win it’s always great when an underdog wins.

      The LED signs on the cars were also actually really good and I think would offer some value to F1. They showed the position, if Push to pass was being used (For those that don’t know, it is their version of KERS, they can use it anywhere they like but only have a set number to use for the race) and also it showed the pit stop time which was also cool and quite accurate (Timer started from a sensor detecting when the wheels stopped and stops when the wheels move again, obviously if someone locks up on the way in then that would skew the time slightly but didn’t see that at Ohio) I’m sure other things could be shown on it too. I remember reading people saying they’d be rubbish as you wouldn’t be able to read them at such high speeds but on the TV coverage at least they were always visible and I found myself looking at them alot to see where people were and if PP was being used.

    11. Can we get a timestamp on that radio message, cause i was watching live and there was no such message. i even checked again on demand, but it did include all the other messages. That bit with the radio message seem like it was edited on later.

    12. I have to wonder what those who hated Peugeot and Marc Gene for broadsiding Andre Lotterer at Le Mans four years back would have to say about the DTM race.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        3rd August 2015, 15:46

        On both occasions, the Audi was being blocked. On that front, Peugeot at LM was worse because their car was not on the lead lap and had no business to defend that hard, but Wickens was not blocking to defend either, he was trying to engineer Wehrlein’s result.
        I’m in a minority it seems, but I found the incident hilarious, in the sense that all that intellectual effort to help Wehrlein get more points came to naught in the silliest way possible.

    13. Aftermath of RB Ring incident: Audi will be excluded, Lexus, Nissan, & Honda will be invited to race in DTM (with GT500 machines, of course)..xD

    14. I didn’t watch the race or know anything about what is being talked about, but “push him out” does not mean “take him out”. And to be frank, if I were frustrated at being blocked, I would have said the same thing. You “push” some out by getting on the inside and performing a very hard blocking pass, including contact. In now way is pushing someone out the same thing as taking someone out.

      Lots of drama though. I guess that’s what matters, especially if you look at the article about Hungary being the best race since forever.

      Bernie is right about a lot of people, those people just don’t want to admit it.

      1. *In no way…

      2. You’re mincing words.
        The command was spoken in german. I watched it, and the meaning was clear to me: Get him out of the race…

    15. Next race: Germany (31st July – 2nd August)

      Keith you must change the date of WRC next race.

    16. DTM proves what a rubbish idea it is to have a small number of manufacturers field a large number of cars each. The team orders there are the worst in any current high level Motorsport series. At worst it comes down to this but even at the usual level it’s disgusting to watch. I have zero and less respect for DTM and although their new format of two races per weekend has improved the racing(it’s still not brilliant though), so I’ve watched most races so far this year, but as of now I’ll stop since such things make this a zero-value motorsport IMO. I can only feel for a great driver like Ekstrom. Imagine if he wins the championship because of this…

      Last but not least: If the whole penalty is to throw Scheider out of the race then that is akin to punishing murder with community service. Scheider should be thrown from the rest of the championship for agreeing to follow an illegal team order. Head of Audi motorsport should be declared persona non grata in the paddock and Audi should fire and replace him immediately as much for the dishonor he brought upon them as for anything else

      1. @montreal95, the issue is that Dr Ulrich is far too valuable for Audi to let go – he is the same figure who has been responsible for delivering all of Audi’s success in sportscar racing and all of their DTM titles in the modern era (where they are currently the outfit with the most constructors titles and are currently on course to take the constructors title this year).

        That, however, is just a fraction of his career – he has been the bedrock of all of Audi’s motorsport programs, be it from rallying to IMSA to sportscar racing to DTM, for almost 30 years, and has also been the driving force behind the wider VW Group’s motorsport activities in the WRC, as an engine supplier in Formula 3 and the upcoming GT3 spec Lamborghini’s.
        Many would say that Ulrich’s organisational and strategic genius is the reason why Audi have been so successful over the years, particularly in sportscar racing, the area that Audi has treated as its crown jewels. Given how important he is to VW’s motorsport activities, I cannot see them wanting to get rid of him over an incident like this.

        Furthermore, the VW Group is extremely influential within the world of motorsport – we are, after all, talking about the largest automotive manufacturer in the world (a corporation that has virtually the same turnover as BMW and Daimler AG combined) and one of the main outfits that is propping up the DTM series. I am not entirely certain that the DMSB would be prepared to take on the VW Group and levy such a heavy penalty.

        1. @anon I knew most of that, but it shouldn’t change a thing. He crossed a line that mustn’t be crossed in sport, ever. If they don’t punish him and Scheider heavily now, they’ll be sending completely wrong message about themselves

          If they want to be respected then they have to act forcefully, and now it’s the time to prove they’re a real sport. Or just a rigged show with a pretense of being a sport

    17. Max Verstappen made some demo runs during the Gamma Racing Days on the TT-circuit in Assen, The Netherlands last weekend.
      See this video with his burnouts on Sunday in front of 87.500 people

      On Saturday he made his first laps, you can see the onboard footage here

      More info:

    18. The order to Timo was loud and clear. Wolfgang’s excuse after the race was ridiculous.
      You can clearly hear “TIMO, PUSH HIM OUT”.
      Hope for a big punishment to both team and driver.

    19. I’m appalled by Audi. I’ve long been an admirer of Dr. Ulrich, he’s always been so gracious in defeat and humble upon victory. It’s such a shock for him to be ordering foul play. It’s quite sad too.

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