Why M-Sport is holding back on major engine upgrades

The Puma Rally1's motor won't be tweaked until M-Sport gets the clarity it needs


M-Sport will hold off on any significant engine upgrades to its Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid until the start of next season.

The sustainable fuel supplied to the teams will be tweaked over the winter ahead of next season and budget restrictions mean M-Sport will wait to run new parts with the new fuel.

M-Sport technical director Chris Williams confirmed the planned engine upgrades to DirtFish, but also pointed out the constraints around running those new parts.


He said: “The difficulty is, we believe the fuel regulations are still going to change for next year, or they could change for next year.

“We have done some work, which is great, but we want to do the next step. But if the fuel is going to be new, we’re just going to burn a load of money – we don’t have the budget to do it [the engine work] twice.

“At the moment we are trying to find common ground [with the FIA], because once we’ve got it, then it’s in for the next two years [and we have to be sure] that we’ve got it right.”

The teams worked closely with WRC supplier P1 ahead of the introduction of the sustainable fuel for this season. That work is ongoing.

“We are not overly committed to doing the changes until we are 100% certain the fuel [specification] is set.


“We will do the work as soon as we can, but we’re going to be sure that the work we have done, we don’t need to go there twice.”

M-Sport’s rivals Toyota and Hyundai both introduced engine upgrades in time for Rally Estonia.

“We know what the others have been doing,” he said. “And, yes, we have some investigations going on, but we have not thrown big budget at it as we know it is expensive for us to do. I don’t know how expensive it is for the other teams, but for us to do this [engine] work, it’s expensive.”


DirtFish understands from sources close to the FIA that the fuel will be ‘tweaked’ for 2023, with that fuel delivered to the teams in time for winter testing after the 2022 season closes in Japan in November.

P1’s WRC fuel uses a mixture of sustainable elements. Bio-methanol produced from farm waste is supplied by Dutch fertilizer company OCI, while Aramco was tasked with developing biofuels and sustainable synthetic fuels derived from captured carbon dioxide and low-carbon hydrogen.

Words:David Evans, Alasdair Lindsay