The WRC is currently evaluating its event format structure for the future having faced criticism from drivers, teams and fans this year.
This has resulted in a package of format tweaks for next year that is set to be proposed and discussed at the next FIA World Motor Sport Council on December 6, following a discussion at the last meeting in October.
At the Acropolis Rally this year the WRC Promoter stated it was open to moving away from a central service park model which has served the championship for more than 20 years. This concept sees crews tackle stages and then return to the service park for midday service at most events, before then returning at the end of the day.
It was also suggested that an increase in tyre fitting zones that are less regulated could be a way to enhance the competition and maximise the stage kilometres completed at events. Under current FIA regulations, time fitting zones last 15 minutes. During this time, the crew and two members of the team can work on the car but only with equipment and parts that have been carried in the rally car through the stages.
A team service car can transport extra tyres to this zone along with any items that are deemed of a safety nature, for example, a windscreen or seatbelts should these need to be replaced.
The FIA has confirmed to Motorsport.com that the central service park model will remain in place but has hinted that more tyre fitting zones could be introduced next year as part of a wider package of format tweaks.
“No. That is all about organisers making plans years in advance,” said FIA road sport director Andrew Wheatley to Motorsport.com when asked if changes to abandon the central service park have been proposed for next year.
Photo by: Toyota Racing
Service park, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
“I think what we can see for example at the Central European Rally on Friday with the remote tyre zones. I think remote tyre zones are going to be a bigger part of the mix because to be able to get the mileage we want to achieve within the time that is available in the weekend, we will need them more.”
Motorsport.com also understands that a move to reduce the minimum event stage mileage to 250km to increase schedule flexibility at rallies is included in the package, alongside tweaks to improve Sunday’s format, and the possibility of introducing a new points structure.
Wheatley says the focus of the proposed format tweaks is geared to maximise WRC events for all…