FIA: WRC can’t compromise DNA for electric switch

Rally director Matton insists all-electric move should not be rushed, as preparations for hybrid power in 2022 continue

FIA World Rally Championship 2020 Stop 2 – Torsby, Sweden

FIA rally director Yves Matton has marshalled against the bastardization of the World Rally Championship in an effort to expedite an introduction of electric cars to the series.

Former WRC regular and now leading electric motorsport protagonist Manfred Stohl’s consideration that shortening routes could allow electric cars to compete in the series immediately was put to Matton.

He told DirtFish that, while he watched electric developments with interest, compromising the WRC was not on the agenda.

“My point of view is that we need to keep the DNA of rallying,” said Matton.

“If we can still speak about endurance with between 300 and 350 kilometers of stages, I think the championship needs to keep this level of mileage to showcase what rallying is.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not able to do maybe one event with another approach. But the main part of the championship, in my eyes, needs to stay with the format close to what we have.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not able to do some events where there are maybe some different stages, where maybe we have something different, but still I’m convinced that rallying is a kind of format where you have some long stages.”


Photo: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Matton was keen to focus on the WRC’s impending switch to a hybrid formula in 2022, but admitted the time for discussions over an all-electric move was getting closer.

He added: “We are looking at the development of this technology and I would say when hybrid will be implemented we will have to see what we can do with electric [power] in rally.

“Personally, I think that we still have to wait, the evolution of the technology is going quite fast, when you see for example the battery, the evolution of battery in the last five years I think in the five following years it will be at the same level of improvement of the batteries and it will change dramatically.

“We could have to implement 100% electric [cars] in rally. Because still maybe the main, how can I say, constraint for rally is the weight of the batteries.”

Words:David Evans