Last year, with ten victories scored in 18 races, the Audi RS 5 DTM was the most successful car. Still, a second place in the drivers,’ teams’ and manufacturers’ classifications was all that was achieved …
The Audi RS 5 DTM was no doubt the fastest car. That’s why not having clinched a title was particularly frustrating. Due to our success in the initial races, we had a lot of weight in our cars at an early stage. That was probably one reason – but not the only one. On some tracks, we simply didn’t extract the maximum and failed to score points on too many occasions. We intensively worked on improving in these areas over the winter.
How were you able to continue to improve the car although the technology of the cars has been “frozen” by the regulations?
Obviously, we couldn’t take any major steps, so we had to focus on detailed work. We spent a lot of time doing analyses and are confident that we took the right actions. Our objective was to develop a large number of set-up options in order to be optimally prepared in a wide range of conditions. In view of the DTM’s extreme competitiveness, this is really crucial. For instance, in winter we worked on the “tool box” which is available to our teams. In 2016, we intend to deliver more consistent results, irrespective of the performance weights.
There was a lot of discussion and controversial debate about the performance weights last year. Why are they needed to begin with?
For cost reasons, no further development of the cars is allowed at the moment. That’s why, as manufacturers, we cannot respond if a brand has an excessive advantage for whatever reason. The performance weights are intended to keep the cars on the same level in order to prevent the dominance of a single manufacturer that way. Last year, unfortunately, the system of the performance weights in general wasn’t perfectly coordinated and significantly intervened with the race results. This has been optimized for 2016. I’m confident that we’ve come up with a solution and that the performance weights will work well.
What does this solution look like?
The weights are now going to be adjusted from race to race – directly after qualifying, based on the time gaps. All cars of a brand receive the same weight. After all, we don’t mean to punish a driver, but to prevent the dominance of a single manufacturer that way.
Changes have been made with respect to the drag reduction system (DRS) as well. Why?
Basically, use of the DRS results in more overtaking maneuvers, as expected. But it’s supposed to be used more specifically for overtaking and not for enabling a driver to follow a faster car. That’s why the number of activations has been limited.