Berger pushing to axe “hated” DTM performance weights
DTM chairman Gerhard Berger has made clear his desire to get rid of the series’ controversial performance weights system, which the Austrian says he “hates”.
Performance balancing has become more intricate this season as the DTM aims to equate Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but a row has blown up over claims that the manufacturers are manipulating the system.
It continued at Zandvoort last weekend, when BMW lost 5kg of weight for race two and Audi gained 5kg, despite BMW having taken a clean sweep of the podium in the opening race.
While DTM’s governing body the DMSB announced last month its intention to scrap the system, such a move would require the agreement of all three manufacturers.
“It’s no secret: I hate the ballast,” said Berger at Zandvoort, “and I’m still pushing [to have it scrapped].
“It’s not really the ballast that is the problem; it’s the consequences. You mix strategies to not get the ballast, you don’t go as fast as you can, you get the best position, but you’re not the quickest.
“I would like to change that, but to change anything in the regulations you need everyone to agree on it.”
Berger believes it is up to the manufacturers to build the best possible car rather than rely on artificial measures to stay competitive.
“With the DNA of the DTM, you cannot put the show ahead of the sport, even if the show is worse,” he said. “I would still prefer to have the sport right; the critical thing is show against costs.”
Audi, Mercedes support scrapping weights
Berger’s ideas have the support of Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass, who also railed against the system at Zandvoort.
“The fact that we’ll have to again add weight for the Nurburgring [scene of the next round] is a drawback,” said Gass.
“It’s obvious that the current system does not accomplish any of the things it’s meant to do. Its unconditional abolishment is the only solution for this absurd condition.”
Gass’s counterpart at Mercedes, Ulrich Fritz, agreed, saying: “We need to get of rid it tomorrow.
“We discussed it at length on Friday [in Zandvoort], Mercedes has supported [abolishing performance weights] from the very beginning, but the others support it but combining it with certain conditions.
“I can understand this from their individual perspectives. But [this way] you will not reach the best for the category.”
BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt however was more cautious on the idea of scrapping performance weights, and said further discussions were needed to reach a long-lasting solution.
“We have had a lot of discussions, and I think it’s really something where we have to continue to find a solution that is sustainable – that lasts not only this season but also next year and beyond,” he said.
“We’ve designed the regs as a table with four legs, and one of the legs was performance weights. If we take a leg away, the table will fall over.
“So now we have to work on building a table that is stable with three legs. This is what the discussion needs to be on.”
Additional reporting by Jamie Klein