Being the new team on the grid, Jens Marquardt has expressed concerns that the rest of the LM GTE Pro runners will have an advantage on BMW Team MTEK when the Balance of Performance is calculated.
The calculation of BoP was changed to an automated system for last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship in a bid to make the allocation fairer. The automated system draws on the last three years of racing data to generate the team’s BoPs.
This is where Marquardt sees there is a potential for BMW to fall at a disadvantage. As BMW are new to the WEC and have not got three years of WEC data behind them, it is not possible to draw upon this data to generate the team’s BoP.
BoP has already been set for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 6 Hours of Silverstone, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans BoP generated on a separate formula. The next BoP will be generated before the fourth round of the season, 6 Hours of Fuji, but once the initial BoPs are set there is only a certain degree that they can be moved on each BoP generation.
“So far as I understand there has only ever been an evolution package that had to be rebalanced.” Marquardt explained ahead of the final practice session this weekend. “Now you have two new cars that come into a system that over the last three year is well established. You have to look whether what you have in place takes care of that properly.
“At the end of the day it is very easy; it is called Balance of Performance. So you need to have a balance of performance as quickly as you can. If everyone starts at the same point it is different than having cars that are established and bringing new cars in.
“This is not something I request but think, that this is normal practice for engineers all over the world. If you get a new situation for the very first time, you look whether what you had in place works properly and fits and covers all of that.
“I think this is the drive that everybody has, the FIA and everyone involved to make things always better.”
BMW were a couple of seconds off in the first practice, whilst the gap grew to over three seconds in lap time deficit to the fastest in class in yesterday’s practice sessions. It could be that BMW were focusing on a different programme to Ford and Porsche, but it has raised some concern.
“We have to see what the outcome of the event is. If everything is OK and everything is fine you just run.” Marquardt concluded. “[The FIA ] set up with what [they] think is the best, now we go into real life and have to reassess. Is it all perfect or is there room for improvement?”