The World Rally Championship’s top-flight could revert back to a non-hybrid car at the end of next season, if agreement can’t be found with current hybrid supplier Compact Dynamics.
The original Rally1 homologation cycle was a three-year term starting in 2022. A subsequent two-year extension has taken this to a more regular five-year cycle, but Compact Dynamics’ contract to supply the WRC is up at the end of 2024.
Negotiations between Compact Dynamics, the FIA and the WRC manufacturers are ongoing.
FIA technical director Xavier Mestelan Pinon assured DirtFish the preference is to maintain the status quo through 2025 and 2026 – but added running without hybrid remained an possibility.
“We have to find a new agreement if we want to continue with the current hybrid supplier,” Mestelan Pinon told DirtFish. “We are already in discussion with them. For us at the FIA and for the promoter, it makes sense to stick with this technology – but we didn’t make any final decision at this stage. We continue the discussion.
“If we continue with them, with Compact Dynamic, it’s important we improve the current system – but this is a normal process.”
Asked about the scenario where agreement couldn’t be found, Mestelan Pinon added: “We clearly have the possibility to run the World Rally Car without the hybrid unit. I don’t say that it’s our preference. We just have to take the best decision with Compact Dynamics and our manufacturers.
“I think both parties would be more than happy to continue if we can improve the reliability of the system. Don’t forget this system was completely new last year, so it’s normal to improve after you find some technical issues.”
Compact Dynamics managing director Oliver Blamberger echoed the FIA’s desire to find a solution to maintain hybrid in the WRC beyond the end of next season.
Blamberger told DirtFish: “As you can imagine, we are very interested to extend the existing contract to the end of 2026.
“The development work is done and the systems are reliably in operation. For example, in very demanding environmental conditions in México, we had no issues with the hybrid.
“Already in November [last year], we offered the FIA to discuss a contract extension – also for sustainability reasons. To have no hybrid in 2025 and 2026 is, from my point of view, not really an option.”
DirtFish understands the discussions are centred on reliability and performance as well as the inevitable negotiation on cost.
“The cost is related to the reliability,” said Mestelan Pinon. “If the system is better on this point, each manufacturer will need less spare units. We are discussing this with Compact Dynamics. We are very close to the rule now, we have to take the decision [soon].”