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6H Fuji: Saturday Paddock Notes, Hypercar Progresss, But EoT Rumblings

Busy weeks ahead for FIA WEC!

There is a significant amount of news pending from the FIA WEC paddock in the coming days.

World Motorsport Council

On the positive side this week’s meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council heard details of progress with the regulations set to replace the current LMP1 class from the 2020/21 season: Summaries of the timetable for implementation, budget estimates and details of the packaging to allow both manufacturers and privateers to be competitive are understood to have been fielded.

The World Motorsport Council also gave the required formal approval for the 2019/20 FIA WEC calendar with only the Sebring date/ event to be confirmed.

EoT Rumblings

There are though significant rumblings amongst the current LMP1 Privateers that the recent changes in Equivalence of Technology, including the change released mid-session in FP3, do not do enough to prevent their cars having to lift and coast in race conditions.

Multiple senior team sources told DSC yesterday of their frustration that whilst in theory, the pace difference for their cars was relatively small to the Toyotas, the reality of the current EoT regulations means that they will be significantly held back in race conditions, in addition to the inherent advantage held by the Toyotas in both power and traction with their effective four-wheel drive hybrid powertrains.

Team representatives met with officials yesterday to discuss the matter. DSC believes there will be no further changes here but pressure is being applied by the whole privateer pack for a meaningful change before Shanghai.

Whilst the change in EoT was released in the middle of FP3, at least two of the LMP1 teams were able to make the required adjustments in time to get track time with them in the latter part of the FP3 session.

Whither the Weather?

Initial dire weather forecasts for the weekend have improved in recent days with predicted heavy rain failing to dent track action thus far – current forecasts show some chance of rain during the race on Sunday but that this now looks like potential for passing showers.

LMP3 Update News Next Month?

An update on progress for the second tranche of LMP3 homologations and regulations is also due in the coming weeks, potentially as early as next month.