As the World Motorsport Council met to discuss the future of the Formula 1 World Championship, a number of items were on the table regarding the WRC and its future regulations.
In March of this year the teams had agreed to a 2 liter naturally aspirated engine. That has switched however to 1600cc turbo charged power plants that the teams claim will be more environmentally friendly. With the new engines, we will also see Super 2000 regulations put in place for the transmission and electronics. With these new regulations, the gearbox and other electric components will be standardized to make racing cheaper for smaller teams and a bit more fair. A number of manufacturers have or will have a Super 2000 rally car in the works within the next year and will make it feasible for privateers to buy a current and state of the art rally car for a significantly cheaper price. Amongst other technical regulations, the cars will have a more aggressive aerodynamics package. It remains to be seen exactly what they intend the cars to look like, but it should add yet another variable in what can be considered a massive overhaul to the sport. These changes could equate to the same very radical changes seen in F1 this year.
The way that rally events can be run was also adjusted slightly. The event organizers have a little bit more freedom in the way their rally is run. They can now make a rally event as short as two days or as long as four. The only catch is the event must end on either a Saturday or Sunday. Stage surfaces can now be mixed and matched so that you can have it your way. The WRC experimented with switching surfaces through the course of an event already this year. Apparently they liked it, because that particular feature will remain. Run the stage half gravel, half tarmac or have 6 of the 8 stages gravel, and the last two tarmac. If more events adopt this style, than tire choice will be even more important and add a great aspect to the strategy.
The new regulations look to be a positive step forward for the sport that has been in danger of failure for the last couple years. With two manufacturers and a few privateers struggling to exist, the series currently is in a huge rut. Couple this with the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, who has a number of good drivers and great venues and it was clear that something needed to be done ASAP. There was also an interesting bit about the introduction of a “WRC Cup” for the Super 2000s. In order to qualify, you must compete in at least seven nominated events and one event outside of Europe. More to come on that as details are released. The schedule was also approved for next year as we continue to switch back and forth different events. This is one aspect of the sport that needs to change. A revolving calendar is simply rubbish and can be credited with partial failure of the series.