World Rally Championship teams are facing a delay in the delivery of hybrid components following what’s been described as an ‘administration’ issue in the supply coming from Compact Dynamics.
FIA rally director Yves Matton told DirtFish the deadline for signing up to the hybrid generation of Rally1 cars being introduced in 2022 was at the end of September.
DirtFish understands Toyota and Ford has committed, but Hyundai Motorsport in Alzenau is still in discussions over its WRC future with parent company in Korea.
The implementation of the September deadline was partly to help clarify the payment schedule, allowing the FIA to understand clearly the division of Compact Dynamics’ costs.
The deadline looks to have been extended in an effort to afford Hyundai more time to join for 2022. It appears the knock-on of this extension is a delay to mid-January in the delivery of hybrid parts.
Originally, the teams were told hybrids would be ready for testing from January 1.
A key meeting between the FIA, Compact Dynamics and the teams on Thursday has eased the situation, according to CEO of Compact Dynamics, Oliver Blamberger.
“We did huge step forward here,” Blamberger told DirtFish.
“We had a lot of meetings and phonecalls and yesterday we got a lot sorted out. I hope in the next couple of days and weeks we can then focus on the development and assembly of the systems and then transfer the systems to each of the teams in January.
“We have a good relationship with the FIA, it’s very positive. What we have to do with the sub-supplier is get these [parts] administrated. Sometimes this needs more work and more effort, but I think we have a good common view and I think the teams and FIA and also Compact Dynamics, we are working hard on this.
“My feeling is that these administration issues will be fixed in the next couple of days or two weeks something like this and then focus we focus on bringing this to the door.”
Asked to be more specific on the administration issue, Blamberger explained that it was linked to the ordering of parts.
“The teams have to set the right orders and to invest the right amount of money. This is also an important issue here that could not be done by Compact Dynamics alone.
“There are some long-term items that have to be procured and that’s the reason I said the teams have to set their official order that we can do this. I cannot do this based on the whole financial resources of Compact Dynamics. It’s more a matter of official ordering than a matter to fulfil the target.”
Blamberger said the hybrid system would be bench tested by the middle of this month and running alongside an 2022 specification engine with the battery next month.
“There are no technical issues that will impact on the project,” he insisted.
When the FIA announced a sole supplier for all the hybrid componentry, the teams were unanimous in their concern at the potential complications.
Taking a stock part for something so technically fundamental to the next generation of Rally1 cars was always going to be fraught with difficulties. Did the FIA really expect the teams to cosy up together and share their data for the common good of Compact Dynamics’ development?
That was never going to happen.
The deal’s complicated almost beyond comprehension. Talk to some about the September deadline and it’s dismissed with the wave of a virtual hand. Well, things are getting really serious now. This time next year the teams will be looking at their first pre-event tests for the 2022 season. Get that? Pre-event tests. Not development tests. No roll-outs or shakedowns. The sort of tests the teams do to fine-tune the car to the road for the rally.
This deal feels some way away from the fine-tuning stage.
But it’s impossible not to understand everybody’s frustrations. The FIA set a deadline, but that looks to have slipped and what can it do about it? The teams want more detail from Compact Dynamics and Compact Dynamics want firm orders and payment schedules.
There are some in the sport wondering whether asking the teams to dive into something so technically specific without a direct supplier contract with Compact Dynamics – and doing so in a background of Shangri-La-style data-sharing utopia – was such a good idea.
The FIA finds itself in a hole. The shape of that hole, depending on who you ask, is sometimes round.
And the peg lined up alongside the hole? That seems to vary between the square and the rectangular. Matton himself has admitted to frustrations at mixed messages.
Last month, Matton told DirtFish: “The majority of manufacturers tell me they will commit before the end of September. Sometimes the problem is that some people are playing a game and some manufacturers don’t give the same feedback on the working group that what they are saying in public.
“Now, it will be 18 years I am in WRC and never before COVID-19 were we involved to co-ordinate between manufacturers, the promoter and the FIA the weekly meetings like we have been doing at the moment. And still there are these games to go outside with different information. We are in the same championship with the same interest. Hopefully we can work together.”
And hopefully, the last few days and the next few weeks will create a hole-shaped peg and we can all look forward to hybrid Rally1 cars running by mid-January.