Whilst there was high drama on track, the Bahrain weekend has also seen significant movement on plans to introduce cost controls for existing manufacturers and to help encourage potential new takers for the LMP1 Hybrid class.
A Strategy Committee meeting took place over the weekend between representatives of the two 2017 LMP1 Hybrid manufacturers, Porsche and Toyota, the President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon, and President of the FIA Endurance Commission, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones.
After what have been described as “very constructive discussions”, all parties that the current LMP1 hybrid technical regulations will be maintained until the end of 2019, the in addition to other decisions already taken on the same subject – including limiting the number of team members, the number of aero packages permitted (down to two in 2017 from three allowed this year), and the amount of wind tunnel sessions and testing days allowed.
The agreement is of no small significance. Counting out the introduction of new systems which have already been partially developed by the existing manufacturers, with a third Energy Recovery System (ERS) permitted under the prior version of the future regs, allowing a 10 Mj energy recovery package now dispensed with, with significant cost reduction implications as a result
The ACO’s Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told DSC today that cost control was at the core of the agreement and that this would have nothing other than a potentially positive impact on consolidating contacts with current manufacturers and encouraging potential new contacts with others.
Both current manufacturers are understood to be supportive of the move too, with Toyota making it clear that the move would only assist both their potential competitiveness and their opportunity to consolidate their programme.
“Both manufacturers have been fully engaged and in agreement with the change,” said Beaumesnil. “The dialogue has always been a very positive one and even more so at the moment.