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FIA not at war with manufacturers over 2025 WRC technical rules

The FIA is not at war with manufacturers over the 2025 World Rally Championship technical regulations with “harmony” not far away, according to FIA road sport director Andrew Wheatley.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The WRC is currently facing uncertainty over its technical rules for next season after the FIA proposed changes that have been strongly opposed by manufacturers.

In February, the FIA released its vision for the short and long term future of the championship, which included proposed changes to sporting, technical and promotional aspects of the series.

While teams have been largely supportive of the majority of the proposed vision, Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford collectively wrote to the FIA requesting the current Rally1 technical rules remain in place instead of the FIA’s proposed changes. The tweaks to the rules include the removal of hybrid power, a reduction in the aero, achieved by a modified rear wing, and a smaller air restrictor, to bring the cars closer to Rally2 vehicles.

The proposal also includes a plan to introduce an upgrade kit to Rally2 car, which has not been met positively by Rally1 and Rally2 manufacturers.

The idea behind the proposal is to increase the number of cars competing at the sharp end of rallies while the move is seen by the FIA as the first step towards the introduction of new Rally1 regulations for 2027 and beyond.

Manufacturers believe the FIA should focus on 2027 having raised concerns about the short time frame and the outlay of resources needed to develop revised Rally1 cars, which prompted the push-back letter. Speaking at last week’s Croatia Rally, team bosses labelled the 2025 rues limbo as a “critical” situation that needs to be resolved with manufacturers required to communicate the future to their boards.

Following a two-day WRC Commission meeting earlier this month, the FIA is now confident that it is edging closer to a compromise with May now the target to deliver its decision to teams ahead of the June World Motor Sport Council.

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“The position we are in at the moment is we need to find harmony with the manufacturers and honestly I don’t think we are so far away,” said Wheatley at a media roundtable including Autosport.

“We have another World Motor Sport Council coming in June where we have to make the preparations six weeks before and we are now right in the process and we are meeting constantly with the manufacturers and exchanging ideas.

“The latest date [to communicate the technical rules] is the June World Motor Sport Council. There is an impression that there is a war between the FIA and the manufacturers and there is not. We had a meeting in Geneva that wasn’t 100% negative, we had a very good two-day discussion about a number of topics.

“We are fully understanding of the position of where the manufacturers are. They just want to do nothing, nothing at all.”

When asked if the plan is to work on a compromise on regulations with the manufacturers, he added: “I think that is where we are at the moment. That is where the discussion is. We have all the options on the table. We know what the target is and what the aim is.”

Wheatley also clarified the three reasons why the FIA has taken such an intervention to propose changes for 2025 and 2026 instead of focusing on just 2027.

He added: “There were three key elements, the first was Pirelli not committing [to a new tyre deal]. The second, the drivers not wanting to do the championship and the third was, and we always have this discussion about Ford whether they are win or out, but there was an additional layer and that was about Hyundai continuing [in the WRC]. That has been a fundamental change in the discussion going forward.”

The WRC Commission is set to meet again on April 25.

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