Matton: More than 10 WRC rounds possible in 2021

FIA rally director gives hope to potential additions, and adds global expansion is still on too

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The fierce competition between countries over making it onto the 2021 World Rally Championship calendar, which has not yet had a maximum number of events set, may be made more intense by cost-cutting measures for the series.

DirtFish has been told, that due to the current coronavirus pandemic-enforced global economic squeeze, the manufacturers want 10 rallies, while WRC Promoter has set its sights on 12.

Nine rallies have already been confirmed, including 2020’s high-profile returnees Rally Safari Kenya and Rally Japan, and nations like Great Britain and New Zealand are still calling for the world championship to visit their shores.

FIA rally director Yves Matton is the man with the clearest idea on what next year’s WRC calendar may look like.

Speaking to DirtFish about the 2020 schedule, he said: “The current crisis has had a huge impact on manufacturers and their motorsport division as well as private teams and privateers. Therefore, we are studying all the different possibilities to try and reduce the cost of the championship in 2021. It doesn’t mean we will go down to 10 events when we’re at 14 currently for example.

“We have established a strategy in the past in regards to the number of events and given the current context, we may have to review this for 2021. However, it is too early today to speak about a number.

“It’s a difficult ratio because less events means less return on investment; the best ratio would be to try and have the maximum of events while spending the least money possible. That’s why we are working on different options with the objective to reduce the cost of the championship.”

Despite the need to cut costs, Matton maintained the FIA and the manufacturers’ position on globalizing the WRC.

He added: “On the geographical aspect, the strategy in place is still to have a global footprint, although we may have to take a revised approach for 2021 due to the current crisis.

“This global approach is not only the aim of the FIA, but also the manufacturers: they’re requesting to go to China, Northern America, Russia, and in the future, it could be also countries like India. So the strategy is definitely to go global.”

Currently, México, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Turkey, GB, France and Germany are not featured on the WRC’s list of contracted 2021 events.