Ford of Europe’s former Motorsport Manager, Gerard Quinn, says the WRC’s proposed hybrid rules due to enter the sport in 2022 don’t go far enough, and may introduce meaningless, out of date technology.
In a wide-ranging interview with RallySport Magazine, Quinn says the regulations should be looking at what technology will be available to consumers in 2027, rather than in 2022.
Quinn retired as Ford of Europe's Senior Manager of Motorsport in December 2019.
“If anything, the new regulations possibly do not go far enough when it comes to the relevance of the technology used and how that correlates for consumers. While the car on your drive may not be identical to the one on rally stages, many are influenced by the success of a nameplate,” Quinn said.
Malcolm Wilson, Sebastien Ogier and Gerard Quinn
“With this in mind, I do think that the proposed hybrid system is not an authentic compelling marketing proposition, certainly if it’s not capable of being used in a competitive stage environment.
“By the time the 2022 regulations are rolled out, electric technology will be more advanced.
“The risk is that the regulations will introduce meaningless out of date technology, not providing an attractive proposition for new manufacturers or retaining the existing ones.
“I would suggest that the regulation should be looking at what technology will be available to consumers in 2027, rather than 2022,” Quinn added.
The R5 category would provide a more cost-effective formula for the WRC, says Quinn. Photo: Martin Holmes Rallying
“Marketing teams will only be interested in leveraging new or future technology expected of a forward-thinking manufacturer, not something that is current and available to consumers in showrooms in the present.”
The Irishman also believes a step back to a formula based on the sport’s R5 category may be the way to move the WRC forward.
“For me it is essential, particularly post COVID, that the sport of rally is affordable,” he said.
“If the sport of rally, particularly WRC, were to continue as an exclusive high cost exercise in technical and aero performance where nothing gets passed back to the consumer, I don’t really see the point.
“The R5 provides a great foundation to move forward from, certainly if the sport were to become more accessible and affordable.
“It has many other benefits too, including seeing new talent breaking through without the dependency on finding a seat with a top team, as happens today.”
In the full interview, Quinn also talks about Ford and M-Sport’s long-standing relationship in the WRC, fighting against Citroen, and why spending more money on a rally program won’t guarantee success.
CLICK HERE to read the full interview with Gerard Quinn.
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