The first DTM test of the year was plagued by very bad weather.
The test was planned to be run at Vallelunga north of Roma in Italy. It turned out to be very limited testing for all three constructors, who were present at the track.
The test was originally planned from Thursday to Saturday, but when the teams showed up at the track, it was covered in snow! Most of the Thursday was used for removing the that snow, so they only a short roll-out Thursday afternoon, before the weather thankfully improved with dry running on the Friday.
Mercedes was very open about their running, with Gary Paffett being in the car the whole Friday. Lucas Auer was in the car Saturday morning, but the weather then changed once again, with heavy rain falling over the circuit. After completing only 14 laps, the young Austrian put the car heavily into the barriers, so the rest of the test for Mercedes-AMG was cancelled. That resulted in no running at all for Pascal Wehrlein. He now has to wait one more month for his first lap, when the second and final pre-season test is held at Hockenheim from 9-12 April.
BMW only had their double DTM Champion Marco Wittmann testing, where he got to run some laps in the updated BMW M4 DTM. There are some slight changes to the technical regulations for this year, where the downforce level of the cars have been significantly reduced, plus some changes to the front suspension. But Wittmann said that he could of course feel some changes, but that the car still had a good balance.
Audi Sport was present at the test with the defending DTM Champion Rene Rast plus Jamie Green and Robin Frijns. The three shared the car during the Friday, while only Rast managed to get in the car on Saturday, before the test was ended prematurely due to the rain and the accident of Auer.
So three days in normally sunny Italy was a bit of a damp squib for DTM this time. The teams will be extra busy when the cars roll out again at Hockenheim in one months time. All drivers and all cars will be present at that test, so they can get the optimal preparations for the start of the season. And we likely to see an extra amount of running this year, compared to previous years, where the cars already had run plenty of kilometres at this point of the preparations.
The DTM season starts for real on 5 May at Hockenheim, with the first two races being run that weekend.