Andre Lotterer says the recent Equivalence of Technology change intended to balance the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 field may not be enough to fully bridge the gap between hybrid and non-hybrid.
The Rebellion Racing driver has called the FIA and ACO’s decision to loosen the EoT settings a “step in the right direction” after Toyota dominated last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, Lotterer has also stressed that there are other areas in which the factory Toyota TS050 Hybrids have the upper hand over the LMP1 non-hybrid independents.
Last week’s EoT announcement confirmed that the target 0.25% lap time advantage for Toyota – roughly equal to 0.5 seconds at Le Mans – will be scrapped ahead of next month’s Six Hours of Silverstone.
Additionally, the non-hybrids were given a higher fuel flow rate while a 15kg weight decrease was applied to the cars with naturally aspirated engines, such as the Rebellion R13 Gibson.
The move to further equalize the field came after the two Toyotas lapped four seconds faster in qualifying before going on to finish 12 laps ahead of the third-placed Rebellion at the French endurance classic.
“It was obviously needed so let’s see how it goes,” Lotterer told Sportscar365.
“It is very much about the overall resources of the teams. Big structures like Toyota, Audi and Porsche are a world away from the privateer teams so it is always hard to see how it can just be matched at the track.”
Lotterer, who previously drove for Audi and Porsche in LMP1, specified the higher rear tire degradation rate for LMP1 non-hybrids as a parameter that could not be leveled out by the EoT.
“Obviously, I know both worlds well, the Hybrid 4WD world and the RWD world,” he said.
“I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but even if you do as much as possible in your team, the facilities and the overall plan of the teams are so far apart that even if you get more power, for instance, the rear tire degradation will mean you struggle.
“It could work like it was in 2012 where the 4WD was not allowed up until 120 km/h [75 mph] but that just isn’t the case anymore.
“Overall, it is a step in the right direction and we will just have to wait and see what we can do out there. But, like I say, it is a big gap in lots of areas you can’t really police.”
Toyota has not commented on the latest EoT ruling, while WEC technical delegate Thierry Bouvet said the substantial gap between hybrid and non-hybrid at Le Mans was unforeseen based on data collected earlier in the year.