Nine nations compete in the 2023 FIM Speedway World Cup.
Hosts Poland are seeded into the Final, with Australia, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, France and Germany contesting the Semi-Finals after qualifying at the 2022 FIM Speedway of Nations.
Each FIM SWC event features four countries, each with a team composed of five riders – four starters and a reserve at No.5.
The reserve rider is no longer required to be an under-21 rider, allowing national team managers to pick their best five riders.
Team managers nominate a 10-rider squad three weeks before Semi-Final 1 and then select their starting line-up six days before Semi-Final 1.
Starting line-ups for the Race Off and Final are selected the day before racing and team managers are able to make changes from their Semi-Final sides, picking any of the riders from their 10-rider squad.
TEAM TACTICS AND CHANGES
Each rider can take a maximum of six rides – five regular rides plus one tactical substitute ride.
No.5 riders can replace any of their teammates in a heat at any time, taking a maximum of six rides – five regular rides plus one tactical substitute ride.
Tactical substitutions are allowed when a team is six or more points behind the leading nation. Each rider can only take ONE tactical substitute ride. Tactical substitutions must stop if a team moves within five points or less of the leading nation.
Injured riders can be replaced by team managers using either their No.5 reserve or a tactical substitute if their team is six points down on the leading nation.
The tactical joker option, which previously featured in the FIM SWC, allowing a rider to race for double points when their team is six points or more behind the leading nation, has been dropped for 2023.
Every FIM SWC event is contested over 20 heats with no semis or finals, and the country with the most points wins the event.
The line-ups for heats 17-20 are nominated by the team managers, with the team manager of the fourth-placed country selecting first and the manager of the leading nation nominating last.
As with the Speedway GP series, riders are awarded three points for a heat win, two for second, one for third and zero points for finishing fourth, being disqualified or failing to finish.
Each team races in one helmet colour for all 20 heats, determined via a draw by the SWC Commission, with each helmet colour allocating them an even number of starts from gates one, two, three and four in a set order.
No qualifying takes place before an FIM SWC event. However, practice sessions will be staged on the day of Semi-Finals 1 and 2 and the Final. There is no practice ahead of the Race Off.
The countdown to a race begins when the FIM referee starts the two-minute clock. At the end of this two-minute deadline, riders must be at the tapes and ready to race – otherwise they face being disqualified.
In the event of a restart due to an unsatisfactory start, the FIM race director has the option to reduce the time allowed to one minute.
Once the four riders have been lined up by the start marshal, the referee turns on the green light to put them under starter’s orders. The tapes will then be released by a randomised electronic system.
If riders touch the starting tapes, they are disqualified. If a rider is adjudged by the referee to have moved before the tapes lifted, they are handed an official warning. If they move or touch the tapes again during the same FIM SWC event, they are automatically disqualified.
When the tapes lift, an intense minute of action gets underway as four riders battle it out over four furious laps.
If a rider or riders fall, and the race is stopped, the FIM referee will disqualify the rider they deem to have caused the stoppage. If the incident occurs on the first turn, the referee has the option to invite all of the riders back for the restart if they believe no-one was at fault.
If a rider crosses the white inside line fully with both wheels, or leaves the circuit, they are adjudged to have retired from the race – unless they left the track to take essential avoiding action (e.g. to avoid a fallen rider).
The winners of Semi-Finals 1 and 2 join hosts Poland in the FIM Speedway World Cup Final.
The second and third-placed teams in Semi-Final 1 and 2 advance to the Race Off, where the winner also earns a place in the Final.
The winner of the FIM SWC Final will be crowned world team champions for 2023.
TIES AND ABANDONMENTS
If two or more nations are tied on points for first place in the Final after 20 heats, a run-off will take place to decide the FIM SWC winners.
If two or more nations are tied on points after 20 heats for first place in Semi-Finals 1 and 2 or the Race Off, the silver or bronze medal position in the Final or third place in Semi-Finals 1 and 2, the countback system will be used to decide the highest-placed team.
In the event of a tie, the team with the most first places will be ranked higher. If this does not resolve the tie, seconds, thirds and fourth places will be taken into account, with a fourth-place finish considered better than a disqualification or retirement. If the countries remain tied, the nation with the highest FIM ranking will be placed highest.
If an FIM SWC event is abandoned before 12 heats are completed, the meeting must be restaged and restarted from heat one.
If an FIM SWC event is abandoned after heat 12 is completed, the result of every completed heat will be taken into account.