The FIA World Motor Sport Council has confirmed the introduction of hybrid World Rally Cars for the 2022 WRC season, while also raising the potential for a return to C segment cars as well as a return to a control tyre from 2021 onwards.
The next homologation cycle for the WRC will include common electric motors and batteries. The FIA has, however, introduced the potential for a second level of hybrid to be introduced in 2025 which would allow for harvested energy to be used in competition.
The level of technological change – and the amount the teams will be permitted to do themselves – after the first three years will depend on the success of the first period of hybrid.
The WMSC communication stated: “The cars will feature a supplementary hybrid system, to be comprised of common components and software for the first three years, with the potential for more technical freedom in 2025. The aim is to enable the cars to run on pure electric power in cities and provide an electric power boost on special stages.”
On the subject of the size and shape of the new cars, the FIA added: “Manufacturers will be allowed to use a production bodyshell or a prototype tubular structure to current WRC size guidelines, while the FIA is set to define carry-over elements from production vehicles for key visual elements.
“There will also be an option for ‘scaling’ of the body within prescribed limits, to allow larger cars to comply with dimension targets.”
Control tyres return
The main field of the WRC will return to a control tyre formula for the first time since 2010.
Pirelli was the last single tyre supplier in the series – running from 2008-2010 – but since the start of 2011, Michelin has won every round of the world championship except for DMACK’s 2017 Wales Rally GB success with Elfyn Evans.
The FIA said: “A tyre tender covering all championship classes with 4WD cars will be issued for the period 2021-2024, helping to reduce costs by preventing an escalation in tyre development.”
The path to WRC glory
M-Sport will offer two WRC outings in a Ford Fiesta WRC in a new initiative sanctioned by WMSC.
The current Junior WRC structure continues for the next two years, with the winner taking a Ford Fiesta R5 plus support package. In addition, if that driver then wins the following year’s WRC2 title, the British team will field a Fiesta WRC for them on two world rounds.
The communication stated: “The Junior WRC programme will continue in its current format for the next two seasons. In addition to the existing prize structure of a Ford Fiesta R5 plus a support package to compete in WRC2, the 2020 winner would benefit from a potential path to WRC.
“Contingent upon then winning the WRC 2 Championship, the Junior WRC title-winner would have the opportunity to compete in two WRC outings in an M-Sport run car.
“To support this programme, M-Sport, in conjunction with Pirelli, has developed a national ‘feeder’ programme across Finland, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Italy that will allow them to step up into the world stage the following season.”
Calendar not finalised
Next year’s calendar has been spiked and will be the subject of an electronic vote before the end of June.
The statement reads: “Approval of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship calendar was deferred to the end of June 2019. In the intervening period it will consider the potential rotation of competitions.”
WMSC confirmed a long-term extension to the current agreement with WRC Promoter.
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