M-Sport Urges FIA to Consider Non-Hybrid Rally1 Car for Regional and National Rallies

Malcolm Wilson, the team principal of M-Sport, has called on the FIA to explore the use of a non-hybrid Rally1 car in regional and national rallies. Wilson’s plea comes as M-Sport seeks to maintain its presence in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Initially, Wilson was promised the opportunity to sell Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 cars to private drivers when Rally1 was introduced last season. However, only one car has been sold so far, which falls significantly short of the ten cars needed to sustain M-Sport’s involvement in the championship.

During a meeting with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem at the recent Acropolis Rally Greece, Wilson highlighted the issues faced by M-Sport and expressed hope for prompt action. He pointed out that Ben Sulayem had previously won seven Middle East Rally Championship titles using essentially a Rally1 car, suggesting that a non-hybrid solution could be viable.

Wilson believes that the current challenge lies not in the cost of the cars, but rather in the level of organization required to run hybrid Rally1 cars in national events. Specific rules and regulations surrounding the use of hybrids can often be complicated and deter drivers from purchasing these vehicles. His proposal suggests removing the hybrid components from Rally1 cars, replacing them with ballast, and utilizing regular cars that can operate under normal rules.

This non-hybrid solution, according to Wilson, would encourage both drivers and rallies to adopt Rally1 cars. Ben Sulayem has assigned FIA rally director Andrew Wheatley to investigate the potential use of Rally1 cars outside of the WRC, with a focus on cost reduction. The FIA will also consider allowing these cars to participate in other championships.

Wilson emphasized the urgency for change, stating that M-Sport’s ability to sell cars is critical to their continued involvement in the sport. He expressed gratitude for the support received from Ben Sulayem and called for further collaboration between M-Sport and the governing body.

– RallySport Magazine
– DirtFish