Future of existing WRC cars being evaluated by FIA

The FIA will table a proposal for the future of current specification World Rally Cars before the end of this month

Future of existing WRC cars being evaluated by FIA

The existing machinery will not be competitive against the faster and more-advanced 2017 WRC cars, but will remain homologated and therefore technically legal to compete in the World Rally Championship.

FIA to restrict driver access to 2017 WRC cars

Manufacturers and private teams are keen to know they will figure in the championship, and WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen has raised concerns over the potential confusion of running the cars alongside 2017 machinery.

Cars built to R5 specification already compete under the WRC2 banner.

"Do we really need to create something between R5 and the 2017 World Rally Cars?" Mahonen said.

"Shall we screw the R5 cars by running the [2016 World Rally Cars]? That doesn't sound good.

"We have so many R5 cars now, that category is clearly a success.

"We are discussing with the manufacturers what shall we do with the old car.

"I have asked for some feedback and we will have some sort of proposal by the end of the month."

Mahonen hotly denied speculation that the current cars had already been condemned.

"Somebody told me this, they said we had made the decision already to ban them, but that is absolutely not the case," he said.

"Citroen is selling some cars to PH-Sport, Hyundai has some and, of course, M-Sport is selling these current cars - but all of those teams have an R5 car."

Many of the WRC's current private drivers are not willing to step back to R5 cars, but getting 2017 machinery could be tricky as manufacturers struggle to supply cars in the first half of next season.

M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson has pointed to the gap between R5 and 2017-specification cars if current cars are outlawed.

"It's a massive gap," Wilson told Autosport.

"I think it will be quite difficult for drivers to get up to speed with the new 2017 car coming out of an R5 car.

"The obvious thing for me is to leave the current cars there and maybe create another tier which will fill that gap.

"We're only looking at a year or two at the most for this solution, the [current] cars don't have a long shelf life.

"The teams are all stopping building them now, with the focus moving to the new cars, so there simply won't be the cars around in a couple of years."

Wilson added that turning away potential customers for the world championship made no sense, commercially or from a sporting and spectacle perspective.

"We have got lots of customers who are really keen to compete in the World Rally Championship and in a World Rally Car," he said.

"Understandably, the FIA wants to restrict access to the new cars, but it would be a shame to turn away more competitors when there are cars sitting around that could be used."

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Drivers of 2017 World Rally Cars must be approved by FIA

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