WTCC race format to change for 2016

The World Touring Car Championship is set to alter its race formats for 2016, with an opening reverse-grid race and an extended race two to replace the current set-up

WTCC race format to change for 2016

Currently, the grid for first race of the weekend is based on the result of qualifying, with the top ten qualifiers then reversed for the start of race two.

But wishing for the final race of the weekend to be of most importance, WTCC chief Francois Ribeiro said the reverse-grid race will take place first next season, before a longer, main second event - the grid for which would be based on qualifying.

The change is subject to approval by the World Motor Sport Council next Wednesday in Paris.

"We will change the format of races," said Ribeiro.

"I put all the teams, drivers, manufacturers around the table to have that open debate and get their input.

"We collectively decided to reverse race one next year [and] call it the opening race, and go for the main race immediately after and the main race will be a bit longer."

Ribeiro also hopes the new format will be easier for fans to understand and encourage more unpredictable races, as leading drivers will be need to preserve their cars for the second race.

"It will help the understanding of viewers and spectators about the weekend," he said.

"I hope it will make the overall structure of the weekend a bit more easy to explain.

"Race two is more spectacular but it is not the best driver which is winning and the guy who sprayed the champagne on the podium is not necessarily the best driver of the weekend.

"We tackled this collectively and we decided collectively to change for the good.

"For the top drivers [it will be] more difficult because they will have to take more risk for race one; they will have to fight immediately through the grid to catch big points but at the same time protect their car to score big points in race two.

"It will change the approach of the drivers...if they screw up the first race they can potentially lose much more than they do now."

The existing format will otherwise remain, with the 'FP0' testing session, two practice sessions and qualifying segments to stay as they are, although Ribeiro also confirmed that, after consultations with teams, all non-European races would become two-day events from the start of next season.

While there are not set to be any changes of country on the 2016 calendar, the Russian round of the series could move from Moscow Raceway to Formula 1 venue Sochi.

Ribeiro also said compensation weight will also be increased up to a maximum of 80 kilograms and will be reviewed on a race-by-race basis next year.

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