Thierry Neuville believes that the new-for-2022 World Rally Championship technical regulations could leave the series more dependent on engineering than driving.
In the latest DirtFish Debates show the Hyundai driver said that the new rules, while likely to make the cars more “interesting”, could result in a data-driven environment similar to Formula E.
The WRC will bring in hybrid systems to all cars from 2022 onwards, which will be controlled by the FIA for the first three years and feature in-stage use of a hybrid “power boost”, something which Neuville remains cautious about.
“There are too many things [which are] not very clear at the moment,” Neuville said.
“No-one really knows how the electrical systems are going to behave, how it’s going to work, and I understand that [there are] a lot of complications still to be solved before we can actually implement it properly into the new cars.”
The hybrid power boost is said to give cars an extra 100bhp during the stages.
Neuville reckons harnessing the extra horsepower will be tricky and believes clarification from the FIA is needed on how and when crews are allowed to deploy it.
“To be honest, there have been several discussions about that together with my team as well,” he added.
“During the Finland test [in June], I promised my engineer that if they give me 100bhp more in the stage I was driving that day, there was no way I can use it, there’s no place I can use this 100bhp extra. But there are a lot of discussions going on about this system, nothing is very clear.”
Neuville also expressed concern regarding the added costs of making the power boost’s use more efficient, which is where he drew his comparison with FE.
“I think it could be an option to use the whole extra power during a whole stage or a whole loop but all this will be combined with some extra costs, because everybody will send more engineers and people into the stages to calculate where is the best opportunity to gain the most time with the extra boost,” said Neuville.
“And we’re going to end up like Formula E where basically everything is driven by the engineers and calculated before, so I think there are too many question marks.
“There was a question as well about running only the cars in the service park, but I understood that there were also some complications with that, so I have no idea what the end decision will be, but anyhow, it’s going to make things more interesting. Hopefully we can reduce the costs and not make it more expensive.”