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FIA WEC

Neveu: Switch to Winter Calendar Not Possible Until 2017

Montreal, Mexico City, Russia on short list for series expansion…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

The FIA World Endurance Championship will remain with a conventional calendar until 2017 at the earliest, according to series boss Gerard Neveu.

While there were considerations to move to a winter calendar beginning next year, Neveu has ruled out the switch for the short term due to the arrival of new technical regulations.

READ: 2015 FIA WEC Schedule Released

The ACO will introduce new GTE regulations in 2016, while the global LMP2 platform is set to launch the following year, causing issues during the transition period.

“Everyone agreed that it’s a good idea,” Neveu said of the winter calendar concept. “I never met anybody in the paddock that said it’s a wrong idea.

“But the fact is that when we started to work with people around the table, we were facing big problems with the technical rules.

“If you want to switch from this calendar to the new one, it’s either going to be a half season or one and a half seasons. You have to do something like this.

Neveu said the winter calendar concept remains a top priority and they will re-visit the subject in the coming months.

“We will do it when the technical calendar will be exactly in conformity with this switch,” he said. “It means that we have to work a little bit more in advance with the technical group to work on that.

“If we switch the calendar, we must be ready to make sure it’s not unfair for some part of the grid. There’s new regulations for GT and LMP, for example.

“For me, this subject can be at the front of the table in 2017, it will give us time to reorganize.”

The 2015 calendar, released Friday, again features eight rounds, after the majority of manufacturers and teams elected against expansion given the current economic conditions.

“If we add one race, we know it would immediately impact the budget for the teams, so we have to be careful and take into consideration not only the top manufacturers but also the rest of the grid,” Neveu said.

“At this moment, eight [rounds] looks to be a good compromise between the paddock, the promoter and the FIA.”

Neveu hasn’t ruled out expansion in the future, though, with a return to Brazil as well as potential new events in Mexico City, Montreal and Russia on the short list.

A trip to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for next year has been ruled out due to circuit construction, tied to the new 15-year contract extension with Formula One, although Neveu has expressed interest in holding an event in 2017.

“I think Montreal is a very good place for an endurance event,” he said. “The spirit of the city works with the spirit of endurance.

“We’ve really been discussing a lot with the local promoter but it’s not good timing because they have to do this job and it’s very difficult. If we arrive and the garages are not available, it makes no sense.

“We have to go to the places where the people are ready and happy to welcome us, which is very important. We don’t go somewhere for one shot; we try to go everywhere to build something for the long term.

“That’s why I think Montreal should be considered from 2017.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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