WRC 2022 rule-making process the best Adamo has ever seen

Hyundai boss believes positive discussions the key to safeguarding long-term WRC stability

Andrea Adamo

Support of the new-for-2022 World Rally Championship regulations from Hyundai team principal Andrea Adamo and his workforce depended largely on a re-worked decision-making process, the Italian has revealed.

The veteran engineer took the helm of Hyundai’s WRC outfit ahead of the 2019 season following an expansion of his previous role being in charge of the Korean manufacturer’s customer motorsport operations.

Adamo was then thrown straight into negotiating the next set of WRC rules which, by the end of 2019, decided that hybrid power would be introduced, in some way, on competitive stages by 2022. The World Motor Sport Council signed off the technological venture at the end of last month, with the current 1.6-liter turbocharged engines to be maintained as the primary source of power.

Neuville Hyundai México 2020

Credit: André Lavadinho

In DirtFish Debates, Adamo reflected on a year of work that had successfully paved the way for regulations he believes will secure the long-term future of the championship.

“As I’m getting old, this I think has been the first time in my life in motorsport that I have seen the rules growing up and developing with the proper approach,” said Adamo.

“I have to say, being an engineer, I take the right to say this, that engineers sometimes are the most dangerous entities in motorsport. They have no contact with reality, sometimes they are just spending money for the sake of spending money.

“The way these rules have been developing,” Adamo explained, “sitting the proper people around the table, putting clear proposals that drive the direction of the rules and now we have a clear control of what engineers are doing, is the proper way.”

Hyundai service area

Credit: Fabien Dufour/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

The final product – the blueprints for the cars themselves – will have input from engineering, management and marketing personnel across the service park and the three manufacturers represented there, believes Adamo.

“I think that is the first time in my life that I’ve seen something that should be OK till the end. We’re not doing the crazy things that will just kill the championship.”

Just as the rules were being decided, the outbreak of COVID-19 escalated in Europe, which has put significant financial pressure on automotive manufacturers and motorsport. Adamo speculated that the focus on hybrid technology may increase once the world has exited the pandemic, or hybrids may become the “last kick” to keep the large automotive names involved in motorsport at all.

Cost-cutting measures are already being discussed by the WRC, but how coronavirus could shape the championship’s future is tricky to predict.

“Mamma mia, as we say in Italy. It’s a tricky question that I hope to have an answer to with my colleagues in the next months, because this is something that is one of the – not just for the fans – most difficult to answer questions for ourselves so far. And that is why I think we are facing a tricky moment, and also for motorsport.”