The World Rally Championship’s Rally1 engine specifications will be frozen for the next five years from April 1 next season as part of the drive to save money and cut costs for the manufacturers.
The teams put forward the proposal which has been accepted by the FIA. The move means the engines used for much of next season will remain identical throughout the hybrid era from 2022 until 2026.
One source told DirtFish: “This makes sense. It means after [April 1] we can focus our test and development from the engine side on working with the new [hybrid] parts.”
The new rule also partly explains M-Sport’s reluctance to introduce new engine parts originally penned for Rally Argentina earlier this season.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson told DirtFish: “We will introduce the new cylinder head – originally planned for Argentina – in time for Monte Carlo next year.
“The reason we’ve delayed this is that we’ve got engines with life [and mileage left in them] and engines in the [engine] pool in the current specification that we want to run before the end of the season.
“Obviously we’ve built brand new engines, but the lack of rallies means we haven’t used them.
“Don’t get me wrong, if we were in the thick of the fight for the championship then we would be bringing these changes immediately, but given where we are and how we’re having to really be very careful with the budget, it’s prudent to use the engines we have built and wait until January 1 to bring the new specification.”
The new aero parts tested – along with the new engine – in Greystoke last week will also be left in the factory for the next two rallies.
“Again, we have a large stock of aero parts we want to use.
“One of the issues is that we don’t have a lot of customer cars out there running that need these spares for the specification of car they’re running.
“We’ve got Turkey coming up and we know we’ll go through front splitters and some other parts there.
“We’ll see how things are looking after Turkey and see if we bring the new aero for Sardinia.
“This is really just a common-sense approach to what’s been a complicated and very frustrating season.”