Rally is a pretty down-to-earth sport. It’s not pushing the boundaries like Formula One tries to do, and it’s not introducing totally new concepts like Formula E. But FIA President Jean Todt is expressing his frustrations with how slowly technology in the World Rally Championship is progressing.
“I’m completely in favour of taking into account the evolution of motoring for rallying,” Todt told Motorsport.com. He continued:
Clearly it is a big frustration for me not to see that rallying has engaged on at least some hybridization and some new technology.
The reason is, I am told by people who are there to run the business, is that manufacturers don’t want [it]. They don’t want to change the regulation
When I go in motor shows in Frankfurt, Paris, China, Japan, Geneva, I only see new technologies. For me it’s frustrating to see in an FIA world event they don’t want new technologies.
The current five-year homologation cycle in the WRC runs from 2017-2021. That means that, in 2022, regulations can change. FIA rally director Yves Matton has stated that we scan expect the new regulations to come out sometime this year—but whether it’s full electrification or hybridization is yet to be determined.
WRC might be feeling some pressure to up their electrification game in the face of a hell of a lot of new EV tech—including the new series, Extreme E. While Extreme E isn’t a rally in the traditional sense, it’s going to draw on the things that make rallying fun—like challenging off-road courses—while innovating the format in order to create a documentary.
It makes sense that WRC might feel like they need to show that they, too, can successfully experiment with EV technology and prove that they can still create the racing we know and love.