What will the FIA’s WRC promotional unit actually do?

Stakeholder meetings at Rally Portugal pointed towards a collaborative approach between the FIA and WRC Promoter


The World Rally Championship needs to reach more people. There may not yet be agreement on the direction of travel for the technical regulations, but there is unanimity when it comes to the belief that rallying needs more eyeballs.

To that end, the FIA has established its own WRC promotion unit. But what is it for? And isn’t that the role of the WRC Promoter?

Following a meeting between the FIA, promoter, teams and organizers on the Saturday of Rally Portugal, we sat down with the FIA’s chief commercial officer Craig Edmondson to find out how the pieces fit together.

One thing is clear: while the FIA believes it is the responsibility of the promoter to present ideas for the future growth of the sport, the emphasis is very much on cooperation.

“I think we’re playing a coordinating role. We have contractually assigned the rights [to the promoter],” Edmondson explained. “It’s within their gift to exploit those rights. And they want to get better outcomes.

“A lot of the conversations we’ve been having with the other stakeholders are: how do we collaborate? How do we collectively come together?”

Some examples presented by the promotor during the meeting include improving the experience for fans, both through social media and at the rallies themselves.

These are all items that, according to Edmondson, all stakeholders have been pushing for. There was also acknowledgement that the promoter needs to invest in finding people with the right skills to turn those objectives from proposal into reality.

Edmondson is confident of progress, however. He added: “The promoter has really responded well. They came to the table with some really concrete proposals around those key areas.”

Crucially, there was also confirmation of the target to have a WRC round in the USA in 2026, with the promoter laying out a clear roadmap to make it happen.

The FIA, as the owner of the brand, is in the background taking leadership of the working group Pernilla Solberg

WRC Commission president Pernilla Solberg also believes that a collaborative approach is vital in order to protect the WRC brand.

Solberg said: “I think it’s good that the FIA, as the owner of the brand, is in the background taking leadership of the working group [to ensure] we take care of our brand and build a better future for it.

“I think it’s the responsibility of the promoter to show us what they want to do with the brand. And I think they’ve done a good step of that.”