FIA World Touring Car Cup boss François Ribeiro is planning to use the wildcard system to introduce local talent to the WTCR in 2018, insisting that the system cannot be abused by teams for strategic purposes.
The new wildcard system will allow an additional two entries at each event in 2018, with the first set to be Hungary. No wildcards will take part in the first race on the streets of Marrakech.
The system is not designed to be used by teams for strategic reasons however, and all wildcards will have to carry an additional 20 kg of weight as a penalty for not taking part for the whole season.
Ribeiro believes this, and the fact that approving the entries is at the sole discretion of Eurosport Events, will ensure that the system is not manipulated for strategy or to support a title bid.
“It is completely at our discretion; we can accept, or we can turn it down,” said Ribeiro of the decision as to whether to permit a team’s wildcard request. “The spirit of what we want to achieve with wildcards is to give the opportunity to a local star or young talent and to give them a chance to race at their home event, and get some publicity and warm up sponsors to prepare for the following season.
“If we see that wildcards become a strategy point to help a team in the battle for the championship, then we would probably take a decision to turn them down.
“Any wildcard, no matter who, will carry an additional 20 kg. It will not make a big difference if the driver is really good, but it’s a kind of protection and a message that we want to send that the wildcard cannot spoil the championship.
“At the Hungaroring we have already allocated two wildcards to bring more Hungarian drivers to the grid. At the Nürburgring we will have two Germans, in Zandvoort we will have two Dutch and in Portugal we will have two Portuguese.”