In the second part of our look ahead to the dynamic new breed of World Rally Cars, we hear the thoughts of FIA president Jean Todt and WRC Commission president Carlos Barbosa.
Q: What are your feelings about the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship?
JT: “The sport is always moving forwards and clearly we want to have the cars more spectacular, we want to create more attraction and more interest for the fans. We are very happy to be able to have new manufacturers involved in the championship who are joining the existing ones.
"When I speak about new manufacturers, the arrival of Toyota is very important for the championship. Of course, the return of Citroën is another encouragement and they will join manufacturers like Volkswagen, Hyundai and Ford. The contribution of private teams is also essential so we have a lot of new ingredients, together with rallies happening in different parts of the planet, television and new social media. It looks very promising for the future.”
Q: Controlling costs must have been an important part of the process?
JT: “In any category of motor racing, cost control is absolutely essential so we have always to be careful when we introduce a new regulation that it is not exceeding the cost. With all the teams inside the FIA, it is something where we will put great attention and continuous monitoring.”
Q: What has been the underlying intention of the new technical regulations?
CB: “We wanted to produce dynamic, exciting and distinctive cars which exude the spirit of motor sport. We want to achieve diversity so the fans can distinguish between the look of the cars, we want them to be excited by the spectacle and sound, we want the cars to set the heart racing and for them to develop into iconic rally machinery in years to come. A lot of our objectives were also based on the feedback we got from the FIA’s fan survey so hopefully the fans will be pleased with what’s to come.”
Q: How is this going to happen?
CB: “The visual impact of the cars will be the most striking difference and they should look a lot more aggressive and individual. Greater freedom with the aerodynamics, in particular, will set these cars apart and hopefully make our fans dream about them, as they used to in years gone by.”
Next up – the teams. Ahead of ADAC Rallye Deutschland (18 - 21 August) we will hear from Volkswagen Motorsport about the development of its 2017 Polo R World Rally Car.