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WRC's 2025 rule change will create “pretty crap” car - Hyundai's Abiteboul

The FIA’s proposed technical rules for 2025 will create a "pretty crap" car that is “not up the standard” of the World Rally Championship, says Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team principal Hyundai World Rally Team

Abiteboul made the claims after his Hyundai team conducted computer simulations of the 2025 rules to see how removing hybrid, and modifications and air restrictor will affect the current Rally1 car.

This comes after Toyota tested a physical GR Yaris, which featured a modified rear wing, that driver Elfyn Evans described as “not so exciting”.

Hyundai, Toyota and M-Sport-Ford have strongly opposed the FIA’s intention to change the technical rules for 2025. A final decision is set to be communicated at the World Motor Sport Council on 11 June.

“We found it [the 2025 car] very tricky because it is a massive loss of downforce, so it massively changes the balance of the car,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“The weight distribution of the car will be changed, and mechanical balance and aero balance will be massively changed.

“It will be a pretty crap car to drive and that is a big concern as at the end of the day we have a responsibility to make sure we have a car that is optimised.

“It is a bit ludicrous to believe you can make such a radical change in the car and not give the manufacturers the opportunity in terms of time or [homologation] joker use to re-optimise the whole package.

“That is why the car will end up being a sub-optimal product for what is an FIA world championship.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“You will find out that the drivers are very very unhappy with this car, and I don’t want to talk about the safety side of things, but it could be very difficult to control.

“I know everyone will say 'just drive slower', but still if the fundamental characteristic of the car is wrong. I don’t think it is up to the standard of this championship. This is why we have decided not to develop that car but to focus on the car we have now.”

While a technical pathway is yet to be confirmed for next year, Hyundai has committed its resources to improving its current Rally1 for next year. Autosport understands there is a strong chance that the existing Rally1 rules will remain in place until 2027.

“I believe we have a technical regulation that does work,” Abiteboul added.

“If you look at the gaps in Croatia, that is mind-blowing. There is no category in motorsport that offers such tight gaps for a category that has no BoP, for a category that is mostly open for development.

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“Right now, it is difficult for us and our design office because there is very limited time, and we have so many options to cover.

“Hybrid, yes or no, and rear wing, yes or no and are we going to change the power of the engine with the restrictor, there are a lot of question marks.

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

“When I’m talking to the people of the design office, I don’t know what to ask them to do.

“What I can tell you is, right now, we are not in a position to cover all the possible scenarios in terms of technical regulation.

“We have elected to go for what we believe is the right scenario for the sport, and the right scenario for us and to focus on that.

“Because if you start to spread your resources in motorsport, you know you are going to achieve nothing.”

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