Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville says more clarification is needed on the FIA’s new hybrid power boost systems, which are set to be implemented as part of the 2022 World Rally Championship technical regulations.
The FIA has yet to announce exact details on how the hybrid boost system will be utilized, although the governing body’s rally director Yves Matton suggested that designated “speed zones” could be built into the stages.
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 best placed to deploy the additional power.
“There have been several discussions about that together with my team as well,” Neuville added.
“During our Finland test [in June], I promised to the engineer that if they give me 100bhp more in the stage I was driving that day, I say there is no way I can use it, there’s no place where I can use this 100hp extra.
“But there are a lot of discussions going on about this system, I think nothing is pretty clear [yet].”
M-Sport’s Teemu Suninen was another to reserve judgement on the introduction of the new hybrid power boost but says that any in-stage usage must take into consideration certain event characteristics.
“In Finland there are some places where you can really use the extra 100bhp,” Suninen said.
“Then I was thinking about other rallies, like Sardinia or Turkey or some polar rallies. Because even now, we can’t go full throttle in third gear, we need get fourth [gear] to be able to be on full throttle.
“But it’s the correct way to go to hybrid cars and somehow we have to reduce the costs to get some more new manufacturers to the championship.”
Suninen also feels that the new regulations also have the potential to bring Rally2 cars closer to the WRC spec machines, particularly on stages where average speeds are lower.
“We have seen this in slower sections, the R5 cars can be really close to us because we can’t use the power. In the end, we have a bigger car, a wider car, which is not that handy in the slower places. It would be interesting to have this button.”