Tiago Monteiro says Honda has made changes for 2014 WTCC rules
|By Peter Mills||Monday, December 31st 2012, 15:38 GMT|
Tiago Monteiro says structural changes have been necessary at Honda to accommodate earlier-than-anticipated changes to the World Touring Car Championship's technical rules.
New regulations, aimed at making cars faster and more spectacular in a bid to attract new manufacturers into the series, were expected to come into force for the 2015 season.
But the FIA instead announced in December that a complete overhaul of the rules is to be completed and implemented in time for 2014 instead.
As a consequence, Honda's Civic WTCC, which made competed in Monteiro's hands at the final three rounds of the 2012 season, will be in service for just one more year before requiring major revisions itself.
"It is a big change," Monteiro told AUTOSPORT. "The Civic WTCC was designed to do two years, and of course there is a lot of internal change in the structure to accommodate these changes earlier than expected.
"There is a significant associated to this, because I am sure they calculated the cost of their investment based on a two-year situation.
"Now they are only going to do one year, or one year and a third [including the final three rounds that were contested in 2012]."
Despite the disruption, Monteiro believes Honda's squad, which is run by the Italian JAS team, is sympathetic to the new rules.
"As far as I know, I think Honda realised it was best for the championship, therefore the best for them as well," said Monteiro, who claimed the car's first podium finish at Macau in November.
"We have been looking into the new rules very carefully at Honda. My feeling is that the series is going in the right direction.
"There are many things that I have been thinking this touring car championship should have for a long time. A more aggressive look, a little bit more downforce, without being too downforce dependent like DTM could be.
"Bigger and wider wheels, and 10-20 per cent more power would be ideal. So we are getting there. Those main changes are positive and are only a plus for the future of the championship."
Monteiro also believes the WTCC's decision to distance itself from domestic touring car racing by adopting more aggressive machinery with higher performance levels is a logical one.
"We are talking about a world championship, with the top-level drivers," he said.
"That doesn't mean you don't have other top-level drivers in national championships, but the world championship should have the highest level and the best cars."