Double FIA WTCC race winner and paddock hero Stefano D'Aste has spoken of the upcoming 2014 season and about his uncertain future in the championship due to lack of available drives, funding and fast-paced development of factory teams.

This year sees a whole host of regulation changes come into play, principally designed to make the racing closer and faster, but which are also threatening to force out the smaller, less well-funded teams.

Speaking onstage at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham on Thursday, the WTCC regular - who has competed in the series in a BMW since the rebirth of the championship in 2005 - expressed concern for his own future and fellow self-funded teams and drivers alike.

"For 2014 I will wait to see what happens, because too many things changed," said the soon-to-be 40 year old. "For an independent team it is too difficult to run because the costs have increased a lot.

"Sure there is TC2 (class 2), but running in that is not good for me," he added.

He conceded that realistically he only has one option if he is to race this year: "At the moment the only car available is from RML, and I am sure it will be fantastic but the delivery will be around the end of February so you don't have a lot of time to test."

D'Aste said that in such circumstances, driving against a factory car such as a Citroen would be "very difficult" due to the amount of development needed.

"The most difficult thing is to fight with a factory team. I know already Citroen did many, many kilometres of testing - who knows how many really," he explained. "Citroen starts with a new car, but it has become an old car because of the amount of testing they have done,"

Having previously driven for ProTeam BMW, D'Aste enjoyed his best season in WTCC in 2012 with Wiechers-Sport, when he clinched two victories on top of consistent runs to point-scoring finishes that saw him end up in seventh place in the the championship standings, also grabbing the bronze medal in the Yokohama Independent Trophy title chase.

by Dexter Fielding



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