WEC defends 2019 Prologue plan from team criticism

FIA World Endurance Championship boss Gerard Neveu has described next year's Prologue test as "absolutely necessary" after its addition to the 2019 schedule drew criticism from teams. 

WEC defends 2019 Prologue plan from team criticism

It was announced ahead of last weekend's Shanghai round that the 2019 Prologue will take place in Barcelona on July 24/25, following on from the previous weekend's round of the European Le Mans Series.

Neveu said the test, which will take place just five weeks after the 2018/19 WEC season finale, is important to allow the FIA and series promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest to check the cars, particularly those of new entrants. 

He argued that holding the test closer to the 2019/20 WEC opener at Silverstone on September 1 wouldn't make sense.

"We need to do it because there are many things we need to check, like the marshalling and safety systems, and there is also a strong marketing need," Neveu told Motorsport.com.

"If we have the test three weeks before the first race then there is no time to react and we would also get complaints that we have scheduled a test in the August holiday period."

But multiple teams argued that a mandatory test so soon after the Le Mans 24 Hours will create unnecessary pressures.

TDS Racing technical director Jacques Morello said: "We think that the schedule is now becoming impossible — it will be really hard for the team and the mechanics."

Rebellion Racing team principal Bart Hayden said that having the prologue in the middle of the 10-week gap between seasons would "make like difficult for everybody".

Hayden was among those to express surprise at the announcement of the prologue late last week, claiming teams had been told that there would not be a Prologue test ahead of the first WEC season run to a winter calendar.

This was in line with more public statements from the WEC suggesting that there could be a kind of mini-prologue in the week before Silverstone, but Neveu denied this.

"We never said that there was not going to be one, only that there would not be a test next April [in the middle of the 2018/19 superseason] when the Prologue normally takes place," he said.  

"The teams told us they wanted a test between the end of the old and the start of the new seasons — that was a strong request."

The dates of the Prologue in the week of the Spa 24 Hours have also been criticised by those teams with an involvement in the Blancpain GT Series or drivers competing in it. 

But Neveu insisted that it didn't represent a clash, even though free practice for Spa starts on the Thursday, the second day of the Prologue.

"A test on Wednesday and Thursday is not a clash with a race the following weekend — the Spa 24 Hours begins on Saturday," he said. 

He conceded, however, that he is willing to try to bring the Prologue forward by one day so that it finishes on the Wednesday.

shares
comments
Jani baffled by Alonso's LMP1 privateer comments

Previous article

Jani baffled by Alonso's LMP1 privateer comments

Next article

Michelin working on bespoke tyres for LMP1 privateers

Michelin working on bespoke tyres for LMP1 privateers
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021