The World Rally Championship’s brand new Rally1 technical ruleset only made its debut at the Monte Carlo Rally earlier this month, yet the FIA is already pushing to figure out what type of car should replace it as soon as 2025.
A first step towards more sustainable propulsion methods in the WRC has been made with the introduction of electric motors paired with internal combustion engines powered by fossil-free fuel.
Several figures in rallying, including heads of motorsport at major car manufacturers, have suggested the WRC is already behind the curve by reaching its hybrid milestone as late as 2022 and should be more ambitious.
Recently elected FIA president deputy sport Robert Reid has publicly backed the new hybrid Rally1 ruleset, though is also keen to see progress on a new technical formula for the WRC sooner rather than later.
“One of the things I’ve already said to the promoter is that we need to start thinking now about the next car,” said Reid.
“We need to make sure that we continue to make steps and this is a good step that we’re making now.
“I would probably say yeah, we are a few years behind where we would have wanted to be but I don’t think the house is burning down.”
All three manufacturers currently participating at the highest level of rallying are investing heavily in battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Toyota plans to have 30 BEV models in production by 2030, while Hyundai expects to have 12 BEV models in showrooms by 2025. Ford hopes to hit a 50:50 split between EV and combustion-engined vehicle sales by 2030 and is spending $11.4 billion on a new EV plant in the United States.
Such investment would indicate an EV-led future for cars in the WRC but Reid feels alternative avenues of propulsion can be explored as options for the next set of rules instead.
“Let’s see where the manufacturers want to go. A lot of the industry, probably driven by political decisions as much as anything, is going EV,” said Reid.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity for the FIA and for motorsport in general to be the testbed for lots of different solutions.
“We’ve got hydrogen gas, liquid hydrogen, hybrid, EV, sustainable fossil-free fuels, e-fuel, 100% synthetic fuel that is possible today – although is expensive, but that will come down in price – so we’ve got lots of different options and solutions for lots of different problems.”