FIA, WEC voice support for 'simpler' Hypercar BoP system

The Balance of Performance in the World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class should not be “a pillow of laziness” according to the FIA as it works to overhaul the system for 2024.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Mu?ller

The term was invoked by FIA Endurance Commission president Richard Mille when the governing body and WEC co-organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest outlined their vision for the BoP last weekend at the WEC season finale in Bahrain. 

The two organisations explained that they want a simpler BoP and one that puts more onus on the manufacturers.  

“If a competitor is expecting the BoP, because they made a bad choice or they don’t perform, will bring everyone back, it is not possible,” said Mille. “The BoP cannot solve all the problems; that is just a dream.”

ACO president Pierre Fillon added that the BoP “should not be an excuse when you don’t win”. 

The statements by the FIA and the ACO follow discussions by the rule makers and the manufacturers at a working group meeting in Paris in September at which the majority of participants in Hypercar are believed to have voted in favour of the status quo. 

But the FIA and the ACO insisted that the plan to reduce the scope of the BoP for next year remains what both Mille and Fillon described as “a work in progress”. 

“We want to change to improve it and make it more simple,” explained Fillon. 

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

WEC boss Frederic Lequien offered more insight into what is being planned: “Our responsibility is to put all the manufacturers in the performance window, in the frame, and then they do their job.

“This is very important because this is the notion of meritocracy in sport.”

Lequien stressed that it is important that “the best remain the best”. 

Mille pointed out that one raison d’etre of the BoP is to prevent an arms race in Hypercar and that the rule books for both Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh machinery that lay down performance windows into which each car must fit are designed to achieve the same target. 

“Already we have the ingredients to avoid a stupid explosion of costs,” he explained. 

“We have a format in which people can express themselves.

“There are so many parameters that are variable, the stints, tyre consumption, strategy, the drivers also. 

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

“So there are many parameters that are not our problem.” 

The FIA and the ACO did not reveal any of the nuts and bolts of what they are planning for 2024. 

But their comments suggest they want to leave the building blocks of the current system in place, including the mitigation of the advantages of the four-wheel-drive of the front-axle LMH hybrids, while abandoning attempts to finely balance all the cars. 

Toyota and Ferrari are believed to be in favour of changes. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe boss Pascal Vasselon labelled the current system as “unsustainable because it removes any performance responsibility from manufacturers” at the Fuji WEC round in September.                                                  

A new system of BoP was introduced for 2023: it is based on assessing the potential of each car through simulation and analysis of track data.

It allowed for only one major change over the course of the season, which was set for after the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. 

#50 FERRARI AF CORSE Ferrari 499P Hybrid Hypercar of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#50 FERRARI AF CORSE Ferrari 499P Hybrid Hypercar of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

There was also scope for changes in the balance between LMH and LMDh cars, known as the platform BoP, after the first two races and then two races after Le Mans. 

The FIA and the ACO opted to make wholesale changes outside of the agreed system without the universal backing of the manufacturers ahead of Le Mans. 

It argued that that the differences in performance of the LMH machinery from Toyota, Ferrari and Peugeot in the opening races made it necessary. 

The continued push for a change by the FIA and ACO follows a reference to the BoP by Peugeot when it announced a major overhaul of the concept of its 9X8 LMH in Bahrain. 

The French manufacturer’s motorsport boss, Jean-Marc Finot, claimed that it had been forced into overhauling the design of its LMH because “after one year we see that the BoP is not fulfilling our expectations”.

It is unclear if the Mille’s used of the term “pillow of laziness” was in any way directed against Peugeot.

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