WRC 2025 rules limbo creating “critical” situation for teams

Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport-Ford collectively wrote to the FIA opposing the governing body’s recommendations for next year, that include the removal of hybrid power from Rally1 cars alongside a reduction in aero and power.

The thinking behind the FIA’s vision is to bring the Rally1 car more into line with the performance of Rally2 cars, which will be given a boost in power through an upgrade kit to effectively increase the entry list of outright rally contenders for 2025 and 2026, before new Rally1 regulations are introduced for 2027 and beyond.

The current Rally1 teams have expressed a wish for the current Rally1 rules to remain place given the extra costs and short time frame to enact changes to the cars for next year.

The FIA issued a statement following a WRC Commission meeting earlier this month addressing the team’s fears stating that it is “confident that we will find collaborative solutions to the issues that have been raised.»        

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While a decision is yet to be officially communicated, Motorsport.com understands the consensus in the service park is that a compromise will be found regarding the technical rules, which could see the current regulations continue.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener told Motorsport.com that the current situation is “critical” and that teams are yet to receive an official response from the FIA. But Millener is hopeful a decision will be made before June with more meetings with the FIA planned in the near future.

“We had good meetings in Geneva, and it was a good opportunity to get everyone round the table and give our thoughts, viewpoints, frustrations, positives, negatives, but there is a hell of a lot of work to do in a short period of time to make sure we are all aligned going forward,” said Millener.

Rich Millener, Team principal M-Sport Ford Rally

Rich Millener, Team principal M-Sport Ford Rally

Photo by: M-Sport

“The manufacturers have been clear on what we wanted, and we want stability for the next couple of years in order to concentrate fully on 2027, when we all agree we need more cars and more manufacturers.

“I think more than one manufacturer needs to report back to their boards [before June], so we are talking weeks here. We haven’t got long to make some high-level vision points of where we are going. It is definitely a critical situation at the moment, and I really hope [the FIA] find a way to get it sorted because I don’t think any of us want to lose our jobs, and we have got to be careful that we don’t, as it is a realistic possibility at the moment with what is going on for more than one team.

“I think everybody thinks Toyota will be here regardless, but I don’t think that is the case at all. We have to be cautious that anybody could leave at any point, and we need to get stability. Rally will never die, don’t get me wrong, we have always got Rally2 to fall back on, but why throw away something we already have to start again?”

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala echoed Millener’s thoughts, and when asked if he thought the current Rally1 rules would continue next year, he said:  “I think all the manufacturers at the moment want to stay with the Rally1 as they are, but maybe with removing the hybrid, that is enough.

“Then we don’t need to do the development work and commit big investments into the cars and all the manufacturers would stay in the championship.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Team principal Toyota Gazoo Racing

Jari-Matti Latvala, Team principal Toyota Gazoo Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“There is a good communication with the FIA, and I think they are now considering what the manufacturers are thinking at this point. It is a crucial time and it is critical as to what the future of rally is going to be.”

Hyundai has been most vocal against the proposed changes which have already forced the team to cancel its planned significant upgrades to its i20 N for next year.

“We will have some discussions [about the future] this weekend,” Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com. 

“We are very lucky that we have a new WRC Commission dynamic with a new president – with Pernilla Solberg – who wants to make it work. We are very lucky to have her experience and wisdom and I hope strength in the FIA to find a reasonable way forward for all parties.”  

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