Matton: WRC not expecting new marque until 2024 at the earliest

Manufacturers are continuing to investigate the World Rally Championship’s new hybrid regulations, but FIA Rally Director Yves Matton is not expecting a new marque to join until 2024 at the earliest.

Matton: WRC not expecting new marque until 2024 at the earliest

The WRC will usher in a new era next year as the championship launches its Rally1 ruleset that will produce all-new faster cars featuring a plug-in 100kW hybrid system and a much tougher safety cell to protect the driver and co-driver.

Hyundai, Toyota and Ford, through M-Sport, have reaffirmed their commitment to the series’ new regulations but it is hoped more manufacturers will be enticed to join the WRC as it welcomes in hybrid technology.

Matton confirmed to Autosport earlier this year that he expects another marque to join the series in the future and had since revealed that several car makers are continuing to ask for details as they assess the new rules package for the future.

Although, given the time needed to develop a Rally1 programme from scratch, the former Citroen WRC boss is not expecting any new players until 2024.

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Florian Haut-Labourdette, Hyundai 2C Competition Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Florian Haut-Labourdette, Hyundai 2C Competition Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

He also admitted that had the WRC not committed to bring in hybrid technology, it risked losing Hyundai, Toyota and Ford.

“For sure without hybrid technology I believe that no one of the current manufacturers was really interested to be involved in the future. They need this hybrid technology to keep rallying a good marketing tool for them,” Matton told Autosport.

“I can tell you that some other manufacturers are looking at the regulations and they are for the moment studying them. They are not designing a car, they are more looking to understand how these new cars could fit in their marketing plan.

“I would say that for me 2023 is too close. I believe that the minimum time and window you need to do something is two years.

“I think the fact that they are keeping in touch with category and are going into more details shows that there is some interest. If there is interest there is some hope for me,” he added when asked how positive the discussions had been so far.

Of the three marques to sign up for 2022’s new rules, Ford is the only one that is not a full blown works operation. The blue oval has however increased its support in recent years to M-Sport, who used to run the factory Ford WRC operation until 2012.

Read Also:

However, Matton has reiterated that Ford is putting more focus on the WRC and is heavily involved in the development of M-Sport’s Rally1 car.

“From what I know Ford is deeply involved in the development of the new car and we have a Ford representative in the different working groups, so it shows they are really interested by this new car and the next generation of cars,” Matton replied, when quizzed if the new rules could entice Ford to become a full WRC manufacturer again.

“They will be very close to M-Sport in the future.”

While keen to attract new brands to the WRC, the championship is content with its trio of manufacturers that have committed for the next three years.

“I would say we do not complain with three manufacturers, for sure more is better, but if you remember well we had for several years only two in the championship and we had some years with four manufacturers,” said Matton.

“The most important thing was first to stabilise with three manufacturers and to let them commit for three years, and that has never happen before, and this also gives some value to the potential newcomers that they will not be alone.”

shares
comments

Related video

Solberg secures Hyundai outing for WRC Safari Rally

Previous article

Solberg secures Hyundai outing for WRC Safari Rally

Next article

WRC working on plan for 2022 USA event

WRC working on plan for 2022 USA event
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021