Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo says the World Rally Championship must be wary not to be “too aggressive” with attempts to introduce hybrid power to the Rally2 category.
The FIA announced last October its intention to have cars in the WRC’s second tier homologated with hybrid systems for 2023, a year after the technology’s planned introduction in the top class.
Further details are due in September, though the FIA pledged that regulations being laid out would be discussed “with the aim of controlling costs” as well as performance discrepancies between the “different ‘off-the-shelf’ hybrid systems that will be utilized”.
Adamo said he had reservations not only about the costs passed on to customer teams but also how much more complicated cars with hybrid systems could be to maintain.
“I don’t think it’s written in stone that the Rally2 cars have to be hybrid, honestly, because we have to remember that those are customer cars,” Adamo told DirtFish.
“And I think we have to take care about going too aggressive. Everything has to be deeply analyzed and check if we really need to have more complicated cars to sell, to manage, etc.
“Those kinds of cars have to be managed by teams, that they can be able to loan on a weekly basis these cars, because the costs are high and they have to cash back these cars.
“Do we need hybrid? I don’t know. When? I don’t know, we have to also defend the investment of manufacturers.”
World Rally Championship manufacturers have already faced delays with their hybrid programs, and Hyundai is still awaiting sign-off from its board before it commits for 2022.
Adamo has routinely questioned the move to hybrid propulsion – previously stating it would not be a success if no further manufacturers are tempted to join – and said his fear is that the WRC is trying to follow trends in the roadcar market that may be out of date by the time they are implemented.
“To go hybrid for the sake of going hybrid, I don’t know,” he added.
“We have to adapt, for sure. The proper approach for me would be to adapt to what we can find on the roadcar base, because these are roadcar-based cars.
“So for example, we are using a two-liter engine that due to the Euro 7 [emissions laws for petrol and diesel cars] and restrictions that are going to happen in 2025, maybe they will be no more on the market.
“When people tell me we have to go hybrid, let’s see which is the bigger picture, which are the road cars that we are going to have in the next three or four years.
“Do we know that? I’m seeing that we are having more SUVs, things like this, we have to see the roadcar engines that we can start to use or we have to use, and hybrid, what it means – hybrid, e-turbo, I don’t know.
“We have to have a deep vote about it before to say hybrid for the sake of hybrid.”