FIA wants hybrid/electric WRC rules for 2022
The WRC season may have just started with the recent Monte Carlo rally, but the FIA and WRC bodies are already looking to the future and are suggesting that competing cars in the 2022 season should be powered by alternative energy sources.
President of the FIA, Jean Todt even admitted he was frustrated at the slow progress made so far, and even blamed the manufacturers. "It is a big frustration for me not to see that rallying has engaged on at least some hybridisation and new technology," said Todt. "The reason is, I am told by people who are there to run the business, that manufacturers don't want it. They don't want to change the regulation."
You have thought by now that motorsport would be the debut of new technologies, much like how technology from F1 and endurance racing trickle the way down into road cars. This seems a bit weird as the main manufactures in WRC (Hyundai, Ford, Toyota and Citroen) all have plans on producing more road cars with either hybrid or EV tech, but don't bother with their WRC counterparts.
However, the main reason why we haven't seen much in the way of tech advancement in WRC cars is that the WRC governing body implement a five-year long homologation cycle, of which the current one ends in 2021. This means that details and outline regulations for the next generation of cars will be revealed later this year.
"We know very well what is our timeframe, it will be in 2019 when we release the regulations and this gives the manufacturers more than enough time," said FIA rally director Yves Matton. And it turns out that manufactures are onboard with the idea of improving the tech used in WRC cars.
Rich Millener, is the team principal at M-Sport and said the following; "There will be some form of hybrid in 2022, that's a must. It's the only way some of the manufacturers will stay in the sport and it's the only way for us to attract new manufacturers. It's so important to get those regulations out this year. If we can have those in the middle of this season then that gives the sport six months to go to possible new manufacturers to say, 'This is what we've got, do you want it?'"
It's clear that manufactures want some form of hybrid/electric solution fitted to their WRC cars but the main question is, will it be an official FIA-supplied part or will the FIA leave it down to the manufactures to create on themselves?
Millener added this point; "The main argument seems to be between low-voltage and high-voltage hybrid systems - but how do we integrate those and what do we use as a base? Will there be some kind of standardised system across the cars? We're in limbo right now, so we need some direction - we need to know will we as M-Sport need some outside assistance?"
To make things clear, M-Sport is a private team and may not have the same levels of funding as say, Toyota or Hyundai so it's understandable to see why they might be concerned about the new rules.
How I see it, the next generation of WRC cars might be the fastest set of WRC cars we've ever seen, with performance close to the Group B heroes of the 1970s and 1980s.
What do you think?
I'm curious to see what you guys and girls think of this change? I think it only makes sense to have hybrid/electric WRC cars as it would match the manufacture's road cars and thus, the WRC versions will become even faster and may make the motorsport even more interesting. Leave a comment down below with your thoughts on the subject matter.