Aston Martin Racing’s team principal Paul Howarth feels that the new-for-2018 pit regulations for the FIA WEC “will take a bit of the spectacle away from the sport.”
In the 2018/19 Super Season, teams will be able to change tires while they refuel their cars for the first time. This means that there’s no advantage on adding stints to tires to get out of the pits quicker to gain track position, and almost no chance for the mechanics to gain the team precious seconds by changing tires quicker than their rivals.
This move has been made to enhance the FIA WEC’s image, not on the grounds of safety according to a senior source within the championship who spoke to RACER. The source explained that the WEC doesn’t want to be seen to have the slowest pit stops of any other major championship.
Howarth, though, feels it will take away elements of strategy and spectacle during races going forward.
“The old system had a sporting aspect to it,” Howarth told RACER. “It was heavily regulation controlled, and it was very easy to get an infringement over the last two years, with the sequence of people, people standing behind the lines, etc. The new way will take a bit of spectacle away from the sport.
“We need to think of another way to get any sort of advantages time-wise outside of performance in the cars.
“I think everyone will be to the second with pit stops. You’ve got a controlled fuel time, a controlled tire change time – everything is controlled. I love variables, and I haven’t seen an opportunity for that with the new system.
“I think it was a spectacle in the pit lane. If you want to see a quick pit stop, or a six-second stop, click onto Formula 1 or DTM. I thought the old way was a sporting opportunity, which gave the people in the garages of each time a chance to really help out. It got quite competitive. Clearly, though, they want all the racing on the circuit, and not in the pit lane.”