FIA will continue to make call on who can drive WRC cars

Since 2017, the FIA has decided who drives in the WRC. That's set to continue

M-Sport Ford Sweden

While the FIA has confirmed the next generation of Rally1 cars will be allowed to compete universally from 2022, the governing body will maintain controls over who starts World Rally Championship rounds at the top level.

Ahead of the introduction of 2017-specification cars, there was talk of a WRC-based equivalent of the FIA superlicence needed to race in Formula 1. In the end, that was vetoed in favor of all WRC entries requiring the FIA’s approval.

Understandably, the FIA was nervous about letting inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel of the world’s fastest ever rally cars.

While the FIA has become more lenient since 2017, its rally director Yves Matton says a process of approval for a seat at world rallying’s top table will remain.

“There is no superlicence, there is only a rule that says that the FIA has to give the agreement to let someone drive this kind of car,” Matton told DirtFish.

“For the moment – at least when I was at the FIA level – we give the agreement to all the drivers who ask us. I think the system worked quite well until now.

“We are now working on some other ideas. I cannot say more about it for the moment. I think, honestly, it still makes sense that we keep some kind of control.

“I don’t think it makes sense to have a youngster coming to a World Rally Car without any experience in driving this kind of car at a high level.

“That’s the reason we are working and looking to do something to make sense for the future, to keep a kind of control.

“It’s not only because it’s a World Rally Car, it’s the same in all the championships we have. We have cars which are at the top level of the discipline which are really high performance, I think it’s logical that you need to have a kind of knowledge experience before driving a car which is at the top of the discipline.

“But also it makes sense in the pyramid approach we have. I think you need at least to drive a few events and especially I would say in rally, with a lower category car before you are able to drive this kind of car.”