FIA makes WRC U-turn as Rally1 retained until 2026

Rally1 regulations will remain in place until the start of the WRC's next homologation cycle


Hybrid-powered Rally1 cars will remain at the forefront of the World Rally Championship for the next two years.

Tuesday’s World Motor Sport Council decision reverses the governing body’s February announcement that hybrid would be dropped in an effort to offer parity between less powerful Rally1 cars and boosted Rally2 machinery.

The FIA’s statement from the meeting in Uzbekistan said: “Technical stability has been agreed between all stakeholders for the 2025 and 2026 FIA World Rally Championship seasons. The World Council has confirmed that, following extensive feedback and discussions, the WRC Technical Regulations for Rally1/2 cars will remain unchanged for the coming two years.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The WRC is hugely important to the FIA, it is the pinnacle of the rally discipline and I have had a lot of conversations with the manufacturers over the past weeks about its future direction. It is clear now that we all need to have technical stability for the next two years, but at the same time it is important for the FIA that, in providing this stability, we receive the same positive commitment from the manufacturers.”

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel added: “As the WRC promoter this is a hugely important moment for us, as we can move forward with unity and consistency over the next two years from a technical perspective while we are investing heavily in new and exciting ways to grow the fan base of the sport and deliver for our fans.”

The announcement brings to an end months of debate regarding short-term future technical regulations of the WRC. Current manufacturers Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford are all understood to be committed – or close to offering a formal commitment – to the end of 2026.

Reaction from the manufacturers was positive, with defending champion team principal, Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala saying: “We have a very solid commitment to the World Rally Championship, and we are really supportive of a continued collaborative approach to ensure the strongest competition for all of us.”

Current series leader Hyundai’s Cyril Abiteboul added: “We have worked very closely together with the FIA over the past months and while we all believe that stability of the technical regulations for 2025 and 2026 is the right thing, the very substantial steps made on the governance will provide for a more unified and positive approach towards the short term improvements and long term breakthroughs that we all agree the sport needs.”

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson was equally pleased with the progress the series is making: “This is a really positive step for us in the coming years. We have seen some good proposals on the promotion side, on the marketing side and the plans for event operations. Now the work to make those things happen needs to start, and with a consistent proposition on the technical side, I think the scope is there to achieve ambitious targets for the WRC.”