While debate over the calendar for the remainder of the World Rally Championship season rumbles on, the teams have outlined their financial concerns over running more than 12 rallies next season.
The expectation is of between 10 and 12 rallies, which sits some way short of the WRC Promoter’s stated long-term aim of 16 rounds.
FIA rally director Yves Matton has previously outlined the FIA is working hard to reduce the costs involved with competing in the WRC, but wouldn’t commit to a specific number of target events.
Toyota’s Tom Fowler outlined the issues the teams face if the 2021 schedule moves north of 12.
“In a normal year for us, our opinion has been that more than 12 rallies is not really necessary,” Fowler told DirtFish.
“One rally [per] month is already a big undertaking and the promoter is always pushing for more and more events, but I don’t think there is really an understanding about what that means in terms of the team.
“When you’re at 12, you can single-resource everything; you’re running mechanics and your rally engineers and your test team and they go to each of their rallies or tests for the whole season.
“This fits into each person’s, let’s say, reasonable working environment.
“As soon as you get more than one a month you’re into a situation where, even legally, you can’t ask people to do that amount of work, so you have to start looking at shifting people in and skipping rallies as soon as you make that step beyond what is practically possible for a one shift team.
“It just raises the cost and increases the investment required in resources and equipment massively.
“The promoter has the information to get this, they know what a rally car looks like when it’s finished a rally.
“They must understand we don’t just clean it and send it off to another one.
“It needs to be understood that what we’re running is not Formula 1 in terms of the size of the teams, all the budgets available and also what actually happens to the cars.”
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener could see Fowler’s perspective, but pointed to the plan for the remainder of this season as an indication of what could be achieved by the teams.
“We’re about to go and do one rally every two weeks and we’ve just lost people from M-Sport,” said Millener.
“Everything is possible, but this could be something to do with different employment laws in Estonia [where Toyota’s engineers and technicians are based].
“We wouldn’t want to go above one a month next year. Doing more will get harder and these next few months will be hard work.”
Millener accepted that a second wave of coronavirus could make the argument academic, adding: “If we have 12 events, that’s one per month – but who knows what’s going to happen in January, February and March?
“I think we’re doing well to get 12 events next year. If we look at Australia, they don’t know when they’re going to open their borders again and South America is going through really tough times again.”