"Here at Mercedes-Benz, we have a tradition of nurturing promising young drivers and talent-spotting that goes back almost as far as the earliest Mercedes-built racing cars. In 2012, we are sending three highly gifted twenty-somethings – Roberto Merhi, Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens – into the fray as our DTM Junior Team," says Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss. Serving as role model to the young drivers is Michael Schumacher, the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 driver and seven-time world champion. Schumacher himself wrote motorsport history in the 1980s and 90s with the successful Mercedes Junior Team.
The Mercedes-Benz tradition of nurturing talent is backed by some impressive statistics. Since the inaugural Formula 3 Euro Series in 2003, 13 drivers have made the breakthrough to Formula 1 after learning their trade with a Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. They include two world champions: Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes-Benz young drivers programme can also point to similar successes in other top motor racing series. Of the nine Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers in the 2011 season, five competed in Formula 3 with Mercedes-Benz engines.