There are several changes that will hope to ensure more intense and close competition between all 22 drivers, 11 teams and 3 manufacturers this year, as several new technical regulations will help to make the show more entertaining from a fan perspective, but also from the teams and drivers’ perspective, as new strategies will have to be put into place for all to optimise their chances at glory throughout the 10-race calendar, with 6 races in Germany and 4 in other parts of Europe.
The first of those is the inclusion of the Drag Reduction System, that will provide the drivers with a better opportunity in comparison to drivers behind stuck behind one another in the case of circuits like Brands Hatch. The rear wing will tilt back 15 degrees to provide anywhere between a 5 to 7 km/h increase in top speed, which can be activated by the driver at any time at one instance per lap. The DRS for DTM will not have a restriction on where it can be used unlike Formula One, but the driver will be informed when it is available by race control.
In many respects, people may be quick to criticize the decision taken by ITR and the DMSB for including this technical change, but in may ways, Brands Hatch last year saw all 22 drivers qualify within 2 seconds of each other. There were clearly limited overtaking possibilities, as far as the length and the configuration of the Indy circuit is concerned. Martin Tomczyk was the man that had the measure of the track, as he was hard charging into Clearways on many occasions, gaining positions all the time.
Next, the option tyres that are being provided by Tyre Partner Hankook will aid in the lap times being lowered, as well as another way for the drivers and teams to play out the strategies, as all 22 drivers get one set for the race only. This will help to change the differential in lap times to anywhere between 1 and 1.5 seconds a lap over the harder compound tyres, but the tyres will hit the cliff after a certain amount of kilometres covered.
The option tyres can be identified by a yellow marking on the outer sidewall, so at least when the drivers pick what type of tyre they start on will be recognised when they start the race, which has to be chosen after Saturday’s qualifying. If any driver reaches the final part of qualifying, the driver can actually opt for a new set of tyres for the 1-lap shootout for pole position. But with regards to the pit stops for 2013, as long as the drivers do not pit either on the first three laps or the last three, there is no longer a fixed pit window where the driver has to come in, so strategy is a major power play possibility this time around.
Parc ferme regulations have also come into force this season, as there will be strict regulations on what work can be done by the teams between the end of qualifying and the race. Warm up sessions on the Sundays are no longer part of the weekend structure as well, which means that 2 days for the drivers is not a lot of time to get things right, but we’ll see just how well they all cope from May 5th at Hockenheim.