Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is pushing the team to improve its internal structure – and not just in terms of the team principal role.
Julien Moncet has been the acting team principal, operating under the title of deputy team director, ever since Andrea Adamo departed Hyundai last December.
There is currently no inclination that Moncet will leave the role – and he is happy to continue in it should it officially be offered to him – but there’s equally been no firm decision on whether Moncet will be Hyundai’s permanent solution.
Moncet was the powertrain manager before leading the entire team’s operation, and in Portugal Ott Tänak suggested that that department was struggling in Moncet’s absence.
“I can see he’s very busy and we are also having quite a lot of trouble with the powertrain this year as well which he used to be head of in previous years,” Tänak told DirtFish.
Neuville is aware of the same problem: that Hyundai’s management structure isn’t overly clear and strategic decisions are being affected as a result.
“Everybody does what they can, we still need to work on some internal structure, which we have to improve. And we know, and we are working on it,” Neuville told DirtFish.
Asked if that meant he thought Moncet should just be given the job full-time now, Neuville clarified: “No, I think everybody needs to be able to take decisions and go ahead. And it seems like it’s a bit more difficult at the moment.
I just can tell you that I pushed for the organization [to improve]. And I mean, it's not [a case] of changing peopleThierry Neuville
“But I’m sure that very soon, we will improve on that. And yeah, we can be even more competitive. I mean, the car performance is there. It’s not 100% yet, at least for me this weekend [in Sardinia], I was struggling a bit still.
“But somehow, despite having a few struggles, we still were able to set fastest time [on the powerstage].”
Neuville doesn’t necessarily believe Hyundai needs a turnover of personnel to improve its operations, instead that each team member’s role should be made clearer.
“I just can tell you that I pushed for the organization [to improve]. And I mean, it’s not [a case] of changing people or whatever,” he explained.
“It’s mainly getting the people the responsibilities they should have, and the decisions as well that they can take the decisions they should be able to take. And once that is done, I’m sure that we’re going to be even stronger.
“It’s not only the team principal,” Neuville added, “he has his own responsibilities, but we have different departments. And of course, we are working on it.”
Hyundai’s season has picked up momentum after a nightmare start on the Monte Carlo Rally, as it took its first win of the year on Rally Italy where it outscored both Toyota and M-Sport Ford for the first time in 2022 too.
When Neuville’s comments about Hyundai needing to refine its internal structure were put to him, Moncet said the positivity of Hyundai’s first victory should help.
“I think this kind of result will help us to work altogether,” he told DirtFish.
“It will also help us to reinforce our structure, to show that we can make it altogether despite all the issues.
“So it’s a moment to stay strong together and capitalize on this kind of result.”