A possible move towards hybrids or electric cars in the WRC will be discussed by the FIA and championship stakeholders in Geneva on Tuesday.
Despite being just a season in to the five-year homologation cycle, the sport’s powerbrokers are keen to explore future technical regulations for the WRC’s premier class of car.
Those discussions will include the potential for alternative energies being used in rallying.
FIA president Jean Todt wants to see the WRC embracing alternative technology, but as a former competitor and team principal, he’s aware of the limitations rallying provides.
Todt said: “Today there is no manufacturer supplying a car which can drive 200 kilometres on rally roads at rally speeds which can have a quick [electrical] recharge.
“At the moment, it’s completely excluded to think of having WRC with an electric car. It’s very important to have different categories with different ways of optimising new technologies.
“It’s clear we need to introduce more environmentally friendly technology in WRC. Motor racing is not only a show, it needs to be a laboratory for new technology and safety. It would make the investment for manufacturers more justified than just for racing.
“We need to introduce some hybrid technology, clearly yes. The world is changing, motor industry is changing, racing is changing.”
Rallying provides motorsport’s most complex question for the use of hybrid or electric power, with the cars regularly running loops of more than 100 miles with half of that distance competing in ‘stage’ mode.
One senior team member said there could be an opportunity for an interim response by tweaking current technical regs.
The source said: “We all know we have to change things, but is there the need to rush to electric or hybrid?
“There are things we can do really quite quickly with the current regulations: cutting the number of cylinders used on liaison sections, that kind of thing. The meeting in Geneva will be interesting and certainly it’s going to help shape a future.”
FIA rally director Yves Matton wouldn’t be drawn on the possible outcome of this week’s discussions, telling Motorsport.com: “We are working very closely with the manufacturers about the evolution of the WRC car, both in the medium and long term.
“It is too early to discuss any outcomes, but it is important their future marketing objectives are taken into consideration.”
M-Sport has already begun work on an electric rally car capable of competing on a day-long, national-level event and former WRC rival Prodrive is also exploring possibilities.