The FIA’s ground-breaking safety cell structure – vital for the development of the 2022-specification Rally1 cars – is behind schedule.
The teams expect to start testing their hybrid cars for the first time in early January and having all component parts on time is vital if that timeline is to be maintained.
While there’s concern about the delay, the teams are generally unwilling to criticize the governing body.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s technical director Tom Fowler said the alliance between the FIA and the teams had saved money and moved safety further forward than ever before in the WRC.
“The FIA has done a lot of work in a short space of time to drive this forward,” Fowler told DirtFish.
“The idea is the FIA would do the safety side of the work for everybody, so we didn’t have to spend three times to get to the same point and the same space inside the car.
“Going into a physical crash test [and] destroying multiple chassis across the whole championship with every manufacturer destroying chassis didn’t make financial sense.
“The FIA took that on and that’s a positive thing, but on the other hand that means we have to wait for them to get their results before we can do what we want to do.
“Yes, it’s a bit behind the schedule we discussed together during the end of last year and beginning of this year, but it’s difficult to complain about this when the benefit to the teams is that we don’t all have to go through those crash tests.”
The idea behind the pooled crash testing is for the FIA to regulate the cockpit space to make it as safe as possible for the driver and co-driver.
Once the research and development work is complete, the FIA will define the size and shape of the cell – complete with roll cage requirements – allowing tolerance for the manufacturer and installation of parts inside the cars.
The teams have all provided the cockpit volume area from the bulkhead to the main roll cage hoop behind the drivers and a universal safety cell will be designed with those sizes in mind; one size cell will fit all Rally1 cars.