WRC backtracks on hybrid rules change

13th June 2024
Simon Ostler

The FIA has confirmed that previous plans to scrap the World Rally Championship’s current plug-in hybrid powertrains have been cancelled after the latest meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.


As reported back in February, the hybrid element of the WRC’s Rally1 cars was to be removed in an effort to cut costs and attract new manufacturers. This announcement was met with strong opposition by existing teams, who felt the need to undertake a massive engine redesign was unacceptable when a planned regulation change is already scheduled for 2027.

A letter was written to the FIA by both Rally1 and Rally2 competitors in the aftermath of that announcement requesting the current rules remain in place, and the FIA has now accepted their concerns. As a result, the regulations for Rally1 and Rally2 will remain unchanged until the 2027 WRC season.

Speaking after the WMSC meeting, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “The WRC is hugely important to the FIA, it is the pinnacle of the rally discipline and I have had a lot of conversations with the manufacturers over the past weeks about its future direction.

“It is clear now that we all need to have technical stability for the next two years, but at the same time it is important for the FIA that, in providing this stability, we receive the same positive commitment from the manufacturers.”


WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel added: “As the WRC Promoter this is a hugely important moment for us, as we can move forward with unity and consistency over the next two years from a technical perspective while we are investing heavily in new and exciting ways to grow the fanbase of the sport and deliver for our fans.”

Unity is the key word in the aftermath of this announcement, and the WRC will be hoping these tumultuous few months which have been marred by uncertainty can be consigned to the past.

How have the teams reacted?

The teams can now at least focus on developing their cars for the rest of 2024 and 2025, without having to worry about any prospective rule changes.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Team Principal said: “We have a very solid commitment to the World Rally Championship, and we are really supportive of a continued collaborative approach to ensure the strongest competition for all of us.”


Hyundai meanwhile had been forced to postpone plans to begin developing a brand-new car for its 2025 campaign, but Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We have worked very closely together with the FIA over the past months and while we all believe that stability of the technical regulations for 2025 and 2026 is the right thing.

“The very substantial steps made on the governance will provide for a more unified and positive approach towards the short-term improvements and long-term breakthroughs that we all agree the sport needs.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team added: “This is a really positive step for us in the coming years. We have seen some good proposals on the promotion side, on the marketing side and the plans for event operations, and now the work to make those things happen needs to start, and with a consistent proposition on the technical side, I think the scope is there to achieve our ambitious targets for the WRC.”

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

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