Neuville: “Nobody has balls to challenge” WRC’s Rally1 plans

Thierry Neuville strongly disagrees with the World Rally Championship’s Rally1 regulations next year stating it is a pity that “nobody has the balls” to challenge FIA decisions.

Neuville: “Nobody has balls to challenge” WRC’s Rally1 plans

The Hyundai Motorsport driver has been among those to criticise the championship’s new rule set, built around cars fitted with a 100kW hybrid systems and a stronger tougher chassis.

While the 2022 cars are expected to receive a power boost to 500 horsepower when electric power is engaged alongside the 1.6-litre internal combustion engine, the vehicles will have reduced aerodynamics, suspension travel and will be 100kg heavier than the current cars.

Neuville’s latest comments arrive in the same week the WRC and FIA outlined further details regarding its hybrid future and its move to reach carbon net zero status by 2030.

The Belgian believes it is the wrong direction for the series claiming the cars will have performance figures comparable to the current R5 cars that compete in WRC2 and WRC3.

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“I definitely don’t agree on all those changes which are done and done by FIA and manufacturers all the time for moving things, just to make the car less exciting, more dangerous to drive, and at the end it could be more expensive than anything else we have seen so far in the WRC,” said Neuville in media briefing ahead of this weekend’s Acropolis Rally.

“So it’s a pity. Plus we have seen they have removed quite a lot of the aerodynamics from the cars so you hope to – at least – have some similar figures as before which would have been already difficult, but now probably going to have R5 [performance] figures from the car.

“Just have more power, 500 and more horsepower with the full electric and removing the centre diff, removing fresh air, so basically the response of the engine, removing the aerodynamics and removing damper travel. It’s most definitely the wrong way for me and I don’t agree.

“I’m not happy at all to be honest, and I said it many times. But obviously nobody has the balls to take different decisions and go against what the FIA is deciding,”

“That’s a pity but it must be the time we are living. The drivers are not listened to anymore, and that’s another thing which makes our lives more frustrating.”

Read Also:

In response to Neuville’s outburst, former rally winner and now boss of Toyota’s World Rally Championship programme Jari-Matti Latvala understands driver frustrations at losing elements from the current cars next year.

However, the Finn believes once Rally1 is up and running next year the critical comments will subside.

“There are a lot new interesting things but of course there are also elements that are being taken away from the drivers that are used to in the current cars,” said Latvala when asked by Motorsport.com for a response to Neuville’s comments. “Next year, no centre differential and less suspension travel but the hybrid will give a 100 horsepower in periods of two to five seconds on acceleration which is a nice feeling to have more power.

“On the other hand it brings more weight with the batteries, probably 100kg more weight. The car is going to be slower and of course it’s never a nice feeling when you are used to something great, that when it’s taken away from you and I can understand then criticising these points with the new cars.

“But I think we are in the situation that we don’t need to make cars any faster than they are at this point. Actually if they are a bit slower in the corners it actually can be even better. I think the driver safety is at a great, great level but if the corner speeds are really high it is more about the spectators because if you go off the road the car can end up so far away from the road.

“The situation why it’s feeling bad now is you can compare the current car and the new car, but when everybody is in the new cars it’s the same situation.

“And when they start to develop and get better they get faster again so six months from now I don’t think drivers will criticise anymore.”

shares
comments

Related video

Katsuta withdraws from WRC Acropolis after co-driver emergency
Previous article

Katsuta withdraws from WRC Acropolis after co-driver emergency

Next article

WRC Acropolis Rally set to be “slippery like hell” after heavy rain

WRC Acropolis Rally set to be “slippery like hell” after heavy rain
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021