FIA LOOKS TO CREATE CONSTRUCTORS’ CLASS
The FIA is investigating major changes in the way the World Rally Championship is run in an effort to encourage more constructor-type teams.
There is concern among the stakeholders of the series at the influence held by the manufacturers – particularly in the wake of Volkswagen’s recent application for late homologation for its Polo R WRC.
FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen told MN: “We have been discussing for two or three years that we have to move towards a championship for teams, where there is also a place for the manufacturers. We have to do something about this. [With this in place] we could tackle problems like the Volkswagen matter.”
After three years of discussion and debate, Mahonen said he wanted change in place for the start of next year.
“It will be on the agenda now,” he said. “We will look at what we could do from 2018 onwards. We have to look to the other disciplines like Motogp, where there are teams competing but there’s still a place for the manufacturer. We shouldn’t cut links with the manufacturers – rallying is the only discipline where the manufacturers are really represented. It’s different to F1. The time has come to modernise.”
In addition to changing the structure of the series, Mahonen said enforcing long-term commitment was a priority for the WRC’S continued growth.
He said: “We know the new manufacturers aren’t so stupid that they put this investment into the WRC only to come for one year. But they should commit to the championship for longer term so we all can build something together. This is possible if we really know they are there next year, it’s quite impossible at the moment. We have lost out not having VW with us. It’s a great disappointment, but we had five manufacturers coming and that’s a signal we have done something right. The important thing is that VW left for its own reason – it’s not like when Subaru went in 2008 and said it was because there was no value in the WRC. It’s different.”