BMW's Wittmann calls for equalising DTM pitstops

Factory BMW driver Marco Wittmann has reiterated calls for the DTM to equalise pitstop speeds between different manufacturers after losing victory at the Red Bull Ring to Liam Lawson's Ferrari.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

The two-time DTM champion led the opening stages of Sunday’s race from Lawson having qualified his Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3 on pole position for the second time in three events.

But Wittmann was powerless to prevent the Red Bull junior from overcutting him after the AF Corse mechanics changed Lawson's four tyres in just 6.8 seconds - 1.9s quicker than Walkenhorst.

Zolder winner Wittmann spent the majority of the second stint trying to repass Lawson and got a great run exiting the final corner on the last lap, but was forced to concede defeat by 0.215s.

Speaking after the race, the 31-year-old called on the DTM to bring pitstops under the purview of Balance of Performance, saying losing the race in such circumstances was “hard to swallow”.

This follows the AF Corse team debuting a new pitstop philosophy in the Monza season opener that was subsequently adopted by all Mercedes crews from Lausitzring onwards.

Using this technique, the mechanic operating the wheel gun first loosens the front wheel, but, instead of waiting for the fresh tyre to be fitted by another mechanic, runs straight to the other side of the car before completing the entire procedure on the rears and tightening the wheel at the front.

Teams affiliated with other manufacturers cannot copy the same pitstop sequence used by Ferrari and Mercedes, as their cars do not come with a locking ring that ensures the wheel nut on the front tyre doesn’t become loose before the mechanic tightens it.

Wittmann said: "We lost the place on P1 in the pitstops which is a bit of a shame. This has been a bit of a topic the whole season pretty much that the Mercs and the Ferrari have an advantage with the way they do their pitstops. 

"Obviously it's a bit hard to swallow to lose the win like that, because there is obviously an average time loss of 1.5-2 seconds roughly pretty much each pitstop to them and it was clearly the win decider, so at the end I’m pretty frustrated.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

"But still Liam did a good job I have to admit. He stayed out of any mistakes and there was no chance for me to attack at the end. We had similar pace, both cars. 

"At the end we lost the race pretty much on pitstops, which in my eyes should be a topic for the future in terms of BoP pitstops maybe, because I have to say the BoP between the cars is pretty good and if you look qualifying, it's all super tight. 

"But obviously if you have a pitstop timing difference of maybe two seconds it's hard to gain these two seconds in such a close field."

Track limits was also a hot topics throughout the Red Bull Ring weekend, with several drivers penalised in Sunday’s race for exceeding the maximum number of allowances in the regulations.

Wittmann felt Lawson should have received a penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits in the closing stages of the race, saying stewards were inconsistent with policing track limits all weekend.

“I think there is just inconsistency, or a clear rule is missing, which says four track limits would be a time penalty," he said.

“This was clearly said to us in the drivers briefing and this was not followed on Saturday or even Sunday."

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