FIA reverse WRC 2025/2026 plans: hybrid Rally1 retained

FIA reverse WRC 2025/2026 plans: hybrid Rally1 retained

The FIA has confirmed that the WRC’s Technical Regulations regarding Rally1 and Rally2 cars will remain the same until the end of 2026, meaning that Rally1 cars will be hybrid-powered for at least two more seasons.

The world motorsport governing body announced a roadmap last February which stated that the hybrid power for Rally1 cars would be dropped, alongside improvements (like more aero and power) for Rally2 cars to ‘reduce the performance gap between Rally1 and Rally2 cars.

Manufacturers were strongly against these plans from the FIA, not only due to the short development cycle for the updated Rally1 cars but also because of investments made for the costly hybrid Rally1 cars which would have been competing for only 3 years if the plans to ditch the hybrid power at the end of the current season had gone through.

FIA: ‘All stakeholders working on direction of the 2027 WRC regulations’

In a statement, the FIA said: “Technical stability has been agreed between all stakeholders for the 2025 and 2026 FIA World Rally Championship seasons. The World Council has confirmed that, following extensive feedback and discussions, the WRC Technical Regulations for Rally1/2 cars will remain unchanged for the coming two years. 

“All stakeholders are working positively together on the direction of the regulations for 2027 and beyond, and there is a good consensus between the World Council members and the manufacturers on the key targets that are aimed primarily at increasing participation at the highest level as previously set out by the FIA. It is a strong expectation of the World Council that the current manufacturers will commit to the long-term future of the sport well in advance. These regulations will be presented for approval at the December meeting of the World Council, allowing more than two year’s lead time for manufacturers to adapt.”

FIA had hoped to attract more entries for rallying’s top-level for 2025 and 2026 by cutting the costs of the expensive cars. All-new regulations for 2026 were proposed in the roadmap, but are now pushed to 2027, when all-new regulations will be introduced.

WRC team bosses welcome FIA decision

WRC team bosses welcomed the decision from the FIA. Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala said: “We have a very solid commitment to the World Rally Championship, and we are really supportive of a continued collaborative approach to ensure the strongest competition for all of us.”

Hyundai’s Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We have worked very closely together with the FIA over the past months and while we all believe that stability of the technical regulations for 2025 and 2026 is the right thing, the very substantial steps made on the governance will provide for a more unified and positive approach towards the short term improvements and long term breakthroughs that we all agree the sport needs.”

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added: “This is a really positive step for us in the coming years. We have seen some good proposals on the promotion side, on the marketing side and the plans for event operations and now the work to make those things happen needs to start, and with a consistent proposition on the technical side, I think the scope is there to achieve our ambitious targets for the WRC.”

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool