Not a piece of cake: The crux of developing a time schedule
The watch: nearly everything obeys to its orders. Time dictates the daily routine and gives life its structure. More often than not, you are short in time as you just haven’t got enough of it. And this situation usually also applies to the DTM weekends. The course of the action has to be well coordinated. After all, not only the touring-car drivers need their track time but the numerous support series too. On the three day of a DTM race meeting, many interests have to be reconciled and many factors can be of major importance. All that has to be considered prior to and during a DTM event and so, creating the time schedule is anything but an easy job. And it requires an extremely high level of flexibility.
The work on the time schedules for the coming season begin as early as in the October of the preceding year. Before the provisional final version for the season opener at Hockenheim is completed, numerous sketches are thrown into the waste paper basket. “We create several versions to find out what is possible” says the ITR employee responsible for this task. It goes without saying that the DTM sessions – particularly the qualifying session and the races – have the highest relevance for the time schedule’s layout as these session usually are scheduled according to the live-coverage capacities of the TV partners. “These sessions are the fixed parameters and the rest of the schedule is tinkered around them. A rest that will be very extensive, in 2016.”
On nearly every race weekend, the visitors on the stands will be provided action throughout the day. The support series have got their own format and their own safety regulations. And these things also have to be considered in the time schedule. The IDM, since two years part of the DTM weekend at the Lausitzring, is rather straightforward. “The safety alterations for the IDM take just 20 minutes.” Far more work – and consequently time – is needed for the World Rallycross Championship, After all, the circuit has to afterwards be cleared of the dirt stirred up by the rallycross vehicles. So what is the best point in time for scheduling the rallycross rounds? And what is the best way to incorporate the other programme subjects – the Audi TT-Cup, Formula 3, the Porsche Carrera-Cup Germany, taxi rides and demonstration runs in the season kick-off time schedule? When all these questions are clarified, the time schedule is ready – provisionally, that is.
Fog, thunderstorm or other incidents you virtually can’t foresee are the main enemies of the time schedule. In these cases, it’s getting stressful behind the curtains. By how much time has the start of a session to be delayed? Are there programme topics that have to be shortened? In 2015, dense fog at Oschersleben made for major delays and shortened sessions. While torrential rain and a bad accident made impact on the Spielberg time schedule. “Of course, this kind of incidents always jumbles a lot of things. The time schedules always are tight. In fact, we try to make for some room for this kind of eventualities but to be honest, doing so is virtually impossible. Nonetheless, we always give our very best to complete every race meeting on the respective weekend.” An undertaking often turning out to be anything but easy – but always was realised in the 2015 season.