Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Muller questions need for BoP in WTCR

Yvan Muller has questioned the continued use of Balance of Performance by WTCR, saying he finds it “more and more” of a struggle to enjoy the series.

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

A four-time champion in WTCR’s predecessor, the World Touring Car Championship, Muller retired when Citroen pulled out of the WTCC in 2016, before making a comeback to race a Polestar/Cyan Racing Volvo in the final round of the 2017 season.

That preceded a full return for his own M.Racing - YMR concern in the WTCR’s inaugural 2018 season, finishing runner-up, and joining the Cyan-run Lynk & Co team for 2019.

The 2003 British Touring Car Championship title-winner has finished in the top four in the standings each year since, but is currently ninth in this year’s championship and admits his frustrations with BoP - the mechanism used by series organiser WSC to equalise the cars.

Asked if he was still enjoying racing amid the latest round of political sparring over BoP, prompted by criticism from BRC Hyundai team manager Gabriele Tarquini over Lynk & Co’s pace in the most recent round in Portugal, Muller told Autosport it was a “shame” that BoP means “we push the level down instead of to push the level up”.

“I have to admit, I struggle more and more,” said Muller. “Even if you do a good job, even if you do the best with the car and you are a good driver, you are not sure to win because the BoP are down to help the others to win.

“So we push the level down, instead of to push the level up and that is a shame.

“The weight penalty is 60kgs, when you are not capable to win [with that advantage] then you have nothing to do in that championship.

“Now they give you more power, or they give you downforce or lower the car or whatever.

“It was always politics and it will be always politics, but now – okay, ‘you don’t win, you did a shit car, you have a bad driver, but we will help you to win’. That is a bit the shame.

“Maybe three or four years ago on touring cars there were some very different cars from different generations and I can somewhere understand this kind of BoP.

“But now we all have good cars, since the last two or three years, based on the same regulations, but we still do BoP.

“There are still people with 2% less of power, still people with less weight, still people with a lower car. Why?

“If you are not capable to do a good car, shame on you and go somewhere else.”

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Photo by: WTCR

A Cyan Racing spokesperson confirmed to Autosport that the team supports Muller’s view that BoP is no longer necessary in WTCR.

However, the position of TCR founder Marcello Lotti who heads up the WSC organisation that governs the TCR rulebook, is that BoP is a fundamental element of the category's global expansion and as such will not be removed.

In a statement issued to Autosport, Lotti said: “The BoP has been conceived to be applied to the TCR category as a whole and not only to the WTCR.

“In this respect, the figures say that it works well, as more than 1100 TCR racing cars have been sold worldwide from 2015, representing 15 brands.”

FIA Technical Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “Balance of Performance’s role is to level the playing field and allow for close competition between cars of different architectures.

“Besides, it serves as a cost control tool as additional expenditures do not translate to performance gains. This prevents from an arms race happening between the manufactures involved and makes BoP-ruled competitions appealing to them.

“The FIA has a wealth of experience with balancing out different cars, having started in GT racing in the mid-2000s. The process has evolved greatly over the years and is constantly being improved, with the application of modern methodology and simulation tools.

“Each year there are over 40 different FIA-regulated competitions with BoP in use, from cross country, to touring car and endurance racing.”

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Yvan Muller, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Photo by: WTCR

Muller explains dramas

Reflecting on his season so far, Muller believes his 2022 campaign would have a different complexion if he’d been able to take up his pole position for race two at the Nurburgring Nordschleife - both races there cancelled due to tyre concerns - and avoided narrowly missing out on reversed grid pole at the Hungaroring to team-mate Santiago Urrutia by qualifying 0.080s behind in 11th.

Insight: Why the WTCR's Nurburgring cancellation was “the least worst decision”

He finished the two Budapest races 10th and ninth, while Urrutia took a race two victory which Muller says “changed completely the philosophy of the championship”.

“I think the fact there is a BoP and the strategy is important when you have five cars in the team, so then you try to put one car on pole in Q3 and one car you try to put him P10,” Muller said when asked to explain his difficulties in 2022.

“Before Vila Real, Budapest, I was P11 on the grid, Santi was P10, eight hundreds in front of me. He won race two and that changed completely the philosophy of the championship.

“Nordschleife I was P10 so I was on pole position for race two but I couldn’t race and score points.

“Right now that is a bit the shame of racing in general, it’s only a question of strategy and BoP and it’s very complicated and a shame.”

He declined to comment when asked if his nephew, reigning double champion Yann Ehrlacher, and fellow Lynk & Co driver Urrutia were free to race after team orders were imposed in Vila Real that gave victory to the Uruguayan after he’d been passed by Ehrlacher through the joker section.

The pair are separated by four points heading into this weekend's Vallelunga round, with Hyundai driver Mikel Azcona leading the standings by 16 points ahead of Urrutia.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article WRC ace Neuville keen for ETCR outing after Hyundai car swap
Next article WTCR Vallelunga: Girolami snatches pole position from Azcona

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe