Audi vetoed scrapping DTM performance weights at Zandvoort

A proposal to eliminate DTM's controversial performance balancing system with immediate affect at Zandvoort was vetoed by Audi, it has emerged.

Audi vetoed scrapping DTM performance weights at Zandvoort
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM, Timo Glock, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
Gerhard Berger, ITR Chairman
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Mattias Ekström, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi A5 DTM
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM Audi Sport
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Gerhard Berger, ITR Chairman
Marco Wittmann, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM, Nico Müller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi RS 5 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
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The immediate elimination of performance weights, was on the agenda of the DTM Commission meeting on Thursday before last month's race meeting at the Dutch track.

However, a proposal made by DTM promoter ITR, Germany's national automobile club ADAC and governing body DMSB was not adopted unanimously by the three manufacturers, with Audi opposing it.

As mid-season rule changes require unanimous approval to be implemented, the current system, which awards ballast on the basis of a complex formula of average laptimes, remains in place.

"The proposal introduced by ITR had two variants, which not only included the immediate abolition of the performance weights, but at the same time looked at the 2018 season," series chief Gerhard Berger told Motorsport.com about the meeting.

"The main task was to answer the question of how we should eliminate the success-dependent regulations - that is the performance weights - without having to open the regulations for expensive aero developments as a consequence.

"Therefore, one of the two variants was preferred. Certain areas of the vehicle, which are currently open for further development, should get standardised.

"We have to avoid a costly development race in such areas that are completely irrelevant for the DTM fans.

"The proposal was discussed in the meeting of the DTM Commission on Thursday before the Zandvoort weekend, with the DMSB, ADAC, ITR and two manufacturers supporting the immediate elimination of the performance weights in conjunction with the additional requirements.

"One manufacturer was against."

Audi explains opposition

In a statement, Audi boss Dieter Gass explained why Audi was opposed to the Zandvoort proposal, saying the Ingolstadt marque could not accept tying up performance weights with other technical changes that could shake up the pecking order.

"As Audi, we hope for an immediate abolition of performance weights without combining that with another performance compensation among the manufacturers or an overly hasty change to the 2018 homologation," said Gass.

"We are open for an opening or changing of the homologation as long as it's done after the season and on the basis of the then-run races with the same weight."

"This is why we couldn't be in favour of the proposal that was brought forward from the ITR in the DTM commission meeting in Zandvoort. It would have included standardised wheel wells, areas which have been free for aerodynamic development.

"This compromise would have had unforeseeable consequences. The impacts on the different cars would have been totally different and totally incalculable. It would have been a lottery.

"Furthermore, this solution wouldn't have been very cost effective as we would have had to have a lot of tests to verify a completely new aerodynamic set.

"The consequences of wheel wells for the balance and the overall performance of the cars is just too big."

Weights becoming "harmful" for DTM

Berger has previously expressed his firm opposition to DTM's performance weights, and re-iterated that the current system has become "harmful" for the German tin-top series.

"In this year's DTM races it's all about tactics, since the laptime-average of all cars from the manufacturers is the decisive factor," said the Austrian ex-F1 driver.

"A few drivers are allowed to drive fast and collect points while the others have to do slower laptimes, because otherwise you get additional performance weight.

"The DTM is at a point where the constant discussions about the performance weights are getting harmful for the whole series. The manufacturers are aware of this.

"The ITR still hopes to find a solution in the sense of sport, which is supported by all."

Additional reporting by Stefan Ehlen

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