Why did M-Sport stand in favor of Hyundai's joker plans for 2025?

The team principal of M-Sport Ford, Richard Millener, says that his team agreed to Hyundai develop further its new i20N for 2025 as WRC cannot afford losing a manufacturer, but believes that it will be a compromise for the championship to have more cars running at the top tier.

Cyril Abiteboul revealed that Toyota and M-Sport Ford gave the green light to them to use some homologations jokers during this year in order to solve the reliability issues and to bring more upgrades to the new i20N for 2025 as the next two years will be a transition period for the World Rally Championship. Toyota has already started its test with the new Yaris which was held in Croatia one month ago, but it is not known if the other two WRC teams have started their preparations for the next season. According to the FIA's announcement on February 28, the next year's car will be running without the plug-in systems and with a reduced air restrictor and will have less aerodynamics, but more details are set to be confirmed at the next World Motor Council next month. Finally, it must be mentioned that FIA clarified that the change on the rules will not affect the effectivity of the tyres since Hankook will take over after Pirelli's exit at the end of 2024.

"There will always be difficult conversations because everybody within the team will have a different viewpoint: if you go to an engineer and say we want to do this and give them the opportunity to bring jokers forward…", Millener said. 

"I’m sure it’s the same in every other team, the reaction would be, no chance.

"From the engineers’ viewpoint their goal is only performance and if we have a performance advantage from doing a better job, why should we allow anyone else to do something different?

"I totally understand that perspective, but at the same time if we actively push back on everything and force a manufacturer to leave WRC because they don’t feel like they’ve got a chance, then what’s better?

"There’s always discussions about what we can do to make it fair for everybody and what’s the best for the sport at that time, so I think that’s more where we’ve looked at this time.

"If it was a new set of regulations and it was 2022 and we were three rallies in and they had the problem, it would be a different strategy. 

"When we’re three years into what was the five-year proposed cycle and there is difficulties for teams to continue because of various reasons – one of them feeling that they weren’t able to do a new car and then also not able to look at fixing a reliability issue – then it’s sensible for the sport to try and find a compromise that’s going to mean we get more cars, more close battles, more stories, more entertainment, more fans, more coverage, hopefully more manufacturers. 

"So, it kind of all links together".

Source: DirtFish.com

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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