It’s official: the FIA is switching from the current specification of cars competing in the World Rally Championship to S2000-spec cars. If you guessed that the official reason is “cost-cutting measures”, you guessed correctly. Your prize is some lovely gravel that was churned up by Sebastien Loeb’s Citroen Xsara sometime during the course of the 2008 season. But this isn’t just any gravel, this is the gravel that propelled Loeb to a record 5th consecutive WRC Championship!
For more WRC hand-wringing, follow the jump.
Some time ago, Sebastien Loeb threatened to leave if the WRC switched over to S2000-spec cars. Loeb threatened this because standardized cars would take away some of his advantage over the rest of the WRC field. Boo hoo. He’s now expressed interest in competing in other forms of motorsport, and has test-driven a Red Bull F1 car. Maybe the future will see swapsies with Fernando Alonso? Hey, if both of them quit, and Flavio Briatore (Renault F1 team principle) after next year as he’s said he intends to do, maybe they can all create some new radical form of motorsport together. And without the FIA in control, it might even be entertaining.
The one thing that seems rather suspect about all these radical changes that the FIA is introducing in the name of “cost-cutting” is that implementation of these changes will still cost an awful lot of money. For instance, every single team currently competing in the WRC is going to have to introduce a brand new car for 2010, rather than modifying what they’ve already got. While these sweeping changes may save money in the long run, in the short run, it’s going to cause already cash-strapped companies to spend more.
Sometimes, the FIA is kind of like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park. Step One: Steal Underpants. Step Three: Take Over World. Where’s Step Two? Hiding with Max Mosley’s bullwhip. And while we’re at it, why is there no WRC event in Canada, exactly?