FIA WILL DECIDE ON 2017 WRC DRIVERS
The FIA will decide on a case-bycase basis which drivers are allowed into 2017-specification World Rally Cars from January.
With the cars expected to be quicker than the current WRCS, concerns have been raised about who should be permitted to use them on World Rally Championship events. They will not be available for events outside of the WRC.
Some of the current frontline drivers called for a superlicence system, but FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen believes such a system would bring more complications.
“What about guys like Bryan Bouffier?” he said. “These guys do one or two rallies per year. [Robert] Kubica is another one. What do we do? We don’t want to have a rule where we are always having to bring a waiver, so I would rather not go with the superlicence.”
Instead, the FIA will have the final say on the entry list.
“We have to control these cars,” admitted Mahonen, “but I would rather do it a softer way than the superlicence. Those cars will only be used by drivers entered by a manufacturer and approved by us. This gives us control.
“The problem we have is that, say, David Evans is going to Malcolm [Wilson, M-sport] and putting his £1million on the table to drive the 2017 car. Ask this question and Geneva is going to give you the answer ‘no.’ Today, you can put down the money and drive the car and we have no control over that.
“We will look at the merits of each driver who applies. Do we want the so-called gentleman drivers coming with these cars? No we don’t. And nor do we want the 18-year-old drivers coming and doing their first world championship round in one of these either.”
Faster cars have raised concerns