Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

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.”

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