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WRC reform at risk: manufacturers don’t want it

Ott Tanak, Monte-Carlo 2024

Hyundai appears to be the manufacturer most at risk of withdrawing from the championship, with work on the development of the new i20 Rally1 already stalled. The threat of abandonment is real, and team officials and drivers have already expressed their concerns about it.

The revolutionary changes proposed by the FIA for the 2025 and 2026 World Rally Championships have sparked heated debate and varied reactions within the rallying community. The main focus is on the transition of Rally1, with particular attention to the removal of hybrid systems and the introduction of improvements for Rally2. However, the current situation seems stuck, with the parties involved struggling to find common ground.

In technical terms, the WRC working group has put forward the proposal to eliminate hybrid systems from Rally1 cars from 2025. Instead, it proposes to implement a kit to improve the performance of Rally2 cars, allowing them to compete at a higher level high and maintain interest in the competition.

However, this proposal came when an extension of the contract with Compact Dynamics to supply hybrid kits for Rally1 until 2026 had already been agreed. This created a situation of uncertainty and tension, with the risk of losing the involvement of a manufacturer key already in 2025.

fourmaux safari
fourmaux safari

Hyundai appears to be the manufacturer most at risk of withdrawing from the championship, with work on the development of the new i20 Rally1 already stalled. The threat of abandonment is real, and team officials and drivers have already expressed their concerns about it.

Reactions from manufacturers were immediate and coordinated, with Hyundai, Toyota and M-Sport sending a joint letter to the FIA, calling for the Rally1 regulations to be maintained until the end of 2026. This move highlights a rare unity among competitors and represents a clear act of lobbying towards the FIA.

The surprise of manufacturers lies in the speed and depth of the changes proposed by the FIA, which appear to be poorly thought-out, expensive and difficult to implement in the short term. Furthermore, there has been no reaction from other manufacturers such as Skoda and Citroen regarding their desire to evolve their cars for Rally2+ in the coming years.

The FIA rally commission will meet soon to consider the proposals of the WRC working group and outline the directions for 2025. However, a compromise is likely to be reached for the next two years, far from the radical revolutions that the FIA seems to want to impose. The future of the World Rally Championship remains uncertain, with the parties involved needing to find a balance between innovation and stability to ensure the sustainability and continued interest of the competition.