Tänak: 2022 affordability more important than “fancy” cars

Reigning WRC champion believes current performance can be retained while cutting costs with next generation cars

Ott Tänak

World Rally champion Ott Tänak has urged the championship’s rulemakers to focus on the cost of the next generation of Rally1 cars, making clear having more teams in the field is more important to him than “fancy cars”.

Hyundai driver Tänak said the decision to keep the current engine specification will maintain the performance of the cars and moving to spaceframe chassis could help bring the weight down and further improve the spectacle.

“We need to bring down the budget a bit,” Tänak told DirtFish. “It’s definitely expensive for some teams with the lower budget and I think it’s more important to have more teams than to have fancy-looking cars.

“For sure, even if the budget is going down we can still keep the speed. If the engine stays the same [as the current Rally1 cars] then we keep the same power and then we need to try to keep the weight as low as possible.

“For the five-speed gearbox, I’m not such a fan of this, but it’s important to keep some of the aero.

“The most important thing is that the cars will be fast. The WRC definitely can’t be on the R5 level.”

Talking more specifically about the 2022 rules, Tänak said the FIA had a real opportunity to take rallying forward with the first ever hybrid generation of cars.

As well as a hybrid system, the 2022 changes will also include the addition of a universal safety cell designed by the FIA.

“There will be some extra weight from the battery and the hybrid parts,” he said, “but the new safety cell and the changes to the body [of the car] will save some weight.

“I’m sure there are places where we can take the weight down even more. Maybe we could make the cars lighter than they are now and that would make even more of a show.

“If the cars are more playful then that can be fun as well. It’s fun now, the cars are powerful, but the aero and the geometry is all really good and making the car stable and predictable for drivers. This makes the cars really nice to drive and gives a lot of confidence – we need to make sure we keep this.

“I guess the hybrid side is something… I don’t know if we are big fans of, but we can’t change. The sport absolutely needs a green side and this is the right direction.”