The sustainability of the GT1 World Championship has been in question pretty much ever since its start just a couple of years ago, and the FIA has now given its organizers an ultimatum: get ten teams together representing ten different automakers by the end of August or face extinction. The last race in Slovakia had eight (including McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche, Ford, BMW, Lamborghini, Audi and Mercedes-Benz), represented by privateer teams (each fielding two cars), with Aston Martin expected to make it nine in time for the July 8 race in Portugal before the series heads eastwards in China, Russia and India for the remainder of the season.
With the target so close, we hope the SRO Group that runs the series manages to attract (and retain) that vital tenth team. But we can't help but wonder why the FIA's World Motor Sport Council would want to shut it down. When it was launched, the GT1 championship was the FIA's primary sportscar racing series. Now that it has the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans under its umbrella, could the FIA be losing interest – or money – in the shorter-format racing series? See below for the full decision of the WMSC (relevant section in bold).
World Motor Sport Council
A meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) took place today, 15 June, in Paris and the following decisions were taken.
The WMSC also reiterated its intention to make motor sport more affordable in all categories.
FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
At their request, the FIA is having active discussions with teams regarding cost control and any amendments to the technical regulations resulting from a further limit on expenditure on the chassis will be submitted to the WMSC via a fax vote before 30 June. The intention is to help all teams participate in the Championship in a fair and equal manner.
Constructive Concorde Agreement discussions are on-going between the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder, with the intention of finalising an agreement in the coming weeks. It was also decided that the deadline for the closing of entries be deferred to 30 September.
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP AND RALLYING
Following discussions with the FIA World Rally Championship stakeholders regarding the 2013 calendar, the WMSC adopted the calendar proposed by the WRC Commission. Events will be hosted in the following countries:
The dates will be submitted at a later time, taking logistics and the calendars of the other FIA Championships into account and to avoid, where possible, date clashes.
Candidate rallies will be considered for the 2014 calendar, to ensure their events meet the requirements of a WRC event. These rallies will be run and observed before the end of April 2013. Brazil and South Africa have already expressed their interest in participating.
Following the call for Expression of Interest launched earlier this year to promote the WRC, and the assessment of the numerous bids received, a shortlist of candidates has been established. Final discussions with those candidates are currently being conducted with a view to establishing the best possible platform for the promotion of the FIA World Rally Championship. A final recommendation will be presented to the World Motor Sport Council in September at the latest.
With immediate effect, Priority 1, 2 and 3 drivers are authorised to re-use tyres during an event run on asphalt. However, their re-use will only be permitted if the depth of the profile of the tread pattern is at least 1.6 mm.
In order to further assist in cost reduction, from January 2013 the number of new tyres priority drivers are permitted during a service is reduced to four.
The FIA will seek greater involvement in world and regional rallies and is going to work on establishing more flexibility in the technical regulations in order to be able to attract more entries.
The date of the Rally of Tanzania has been changed to 31 August-2 September, and the KCB Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally has moved to 21-23 September.
FIA WORLD CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY RALLIES
For reasons of safety, and therefore with immediate effect, priority and non-priority drivers may be re-seeded at the start of each leg in accordance with their performance.
The date for Baja Poland has been changed to 6-9 September.
FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2014 LMP1 Technical Regulations were ratified by members of the World Motor Sport Council via a fax vote in early June and were officially announced at a press conference on 14 June at Le Mans. As approved in March, the principles of these regulations are to steer endurance towards energy efficiency and 'green' technologies, in particular hybrids, while at the same time maintaining a high level of attention to costs, to enable smaller private teams to take part alongside major manufacturers.
Former Formula One and sports car driver Derek Warwick has been appointed a member of the Endurance Commission. The Briton is also an FIA Formula One Steward.
FIA GT1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
In order to set in place the necessary marketing and commercial plans and create stability for the series, the 2013 FIA GT1 World Championship will only be confirmed if 10 teams representing 10 brands enter before 30 August 2012.
For the FIA GT3 European Championship, the project of the promoter is to adopt the same philosophy as the FIA GT1 World Championship, with one two-car team per brand. It is also intended to market this Championship as a genuine junior series for both teams and drivers.
FIA WOMEN IN MOTOR SPORT COMMISSION
The FIA Women in Motor Sport Commission hosted its first National Coordinators Seminar on 13/14 June in Paris. This brought together 40 of the 47 National Coordinators currently representing their ASNs around the world, together with key people in motor sport, and provided the opportunity to discuss issues that affect women in motor sport – both at national and international level – with a view to putting in place strategies and recommendations for the future that will promote and encourage more women in motor sport.
The Commission also announced its first Ambassadors who represent excellence in different segments of the motor sport world, announcing Michèle Mouton (Honorary), Monisha Kaltenborn, Katherine Legge, Maria de Villota and Susie Wolff as its first global Ambassadors.
The WMSC approved proposals from both the Truck Racing Commission and the Rallycross Commission to source a promoter for those Championships.
IOC RECOGNITION - FIA DRIVERS' COMMISSION
Following the granting of provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee, the WMSC agreed the composition, objectives and structure of a Drivers' Commission. In addition to a President and Vice President, drivers and co-drivers from across all disciplines of motor sport will be represented in this 10-member Commission to be proposed by the ASNs. Draft modifications to the FIA Statutes will be submitted to the WMSC in September with a view to being ratified at the next General Assembly.