The World Rally Championship’s next generation of Rally1 cars could run for just three years rather than the full five-year homologation cycle.
FIA rally director Yves Matton has admitted the governing body will be flexible to the manufacturers’ needs and if that means restricting the current regulations, he’s happy to do that. The Belgian admitted he would start looking towards rules for 2025 early into next year.
“We need to be flexible,” Matton told DirtFish. “For sure, at one moment, if the manufacturers tell us they want to come into something, we will listen to them. We are working with them. The top level of the championship [right now] is not customer cars. We are achieving this [hybrid] together with the manufacturers. If things are changing and the manufacturers tell us: “We have to give you our strategy for the next three years…” then for sure we will work with them.
“We know that Rally1 is now for three years: 2022, ’23, ’24 in the first cycle. Once it will be 2022, it means in one year, it will be still enough in advance to start to speak about 2025 and ’26. And we can see things are moving faster for the moment. I don’t say it’s not good to start to anticipate and to have some interrogations on what we will be in 2026.
“But, honestly, things are moving so fast that I believe first we will have 2022 and then once we will have achieved this, it is time to start to think for the three years after.
“What we achieve now for 2022 is based on what manufacturers have been asking. For sure, as the FIA, we want more sustainability inside the championship and we want new technologies; we want to have top cars in the championship which are a laboratory and bringing new technologies.”
With the top end of the WRC moving rapidly towards hybrid technology, Matton said he was determined to see that move down through the support categories.
Movement on hybrid Rally2 cars is expected in 2023 with the remaining classes following.
Matton added: “I can only tell you one thing: we introduce a whole roadmap about electrification and hybridisation of all the rally car pyramid. We are working closely with the manufacturers on the whole pyramid [from Rally1 to Rally5].”
The hybrid componentry is expected to be delivered by Compact Dynamics any time now – meaning the final piece of the 2022 jigsaw will be in place.
M-Sport has already talked of its ambitions to have its latest specification Rally1 car running by the end of this month, with Toyota’s all-new Yaris WRC likely to follow sometime next month. Hyundai is still yet to commit to building a Rally1 car.