Both manufacturers were forced to retire cars involved in the battle for victory at Rally Sweden last weekend after suffering failures with the hybrid control unit.
Under current FIA regulations regarding the new hybrid component, drivers and teams cannot continue if warning lights appear or there is an absence of active lights on a hybrid unit, even if the car can still run with its internal combustion engine.
In this situation, the Rally1 cars are effectively quarantined with teams unable to touch them as a safety measure until the go-ahead is given by hybrid unit suppliers Compact Dynamics and the FIA.
Hyundai’s Ott Tanak and Toyota’s Elfyn Evans were the first drivers to break the rules.
A red light appeared on Tanak’s hybrid unit when he was second just 1.1 seconds behind rally leader Evans on Stage 5, leaving the Estonian angry that he had to retire as his car was still drivable. The 2019 world champion would later call the situation “something that should never happen in sport”.
Evans suffered a similar fate although in his case no active lights were displayed on his system after repairing his damaged GR Yaris following an accident on Sunday’s Stage 16.
Hyundai team assistant manager Julien Moncet believes that the regulations should be changed to prevent this situation from happening again in the future.
“First of all Ott is very frustrated and so are we because he was on the pace,” Moncet told Autosport/Motorsport.com.
“We know how fast he can be in Sweden, it’s disappointing. I think we’re on the same page with other manufacturers and with the FIA that we need to rethink some sporting regulations to prevent this situation from happening. does not happen again.
“Let’s all work together. We already had a meeting this weekend and are making sure to update the rules to try to prevent that from happening again.
“It’s never easy because you have to think about everything that can happen but we are learning. We have to avoid that.
Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photo by: Toyota Racing
Toyota WRC boss Jari-Matti Latvala understands starting problems with new technology can arise and is aware of the safety aspects, but agrees hybrid issues should not force teams to retire their cars.
Evans was not the only Toyota to suffer from hybrid issues as rally winner Kalle Rovanpera failed to use his hybrid unit, but the system displayed the correct lights to allow the Finn to continue.
“I can see we have too many problems with them [the hybrid units] at the moment,” Latvala told Autosport/Motorsport.com.
“They need to be stable and they shouldn’t be the reason a manufacturer stops in rallying, so I think there is room for improvement. We hope that the FIA will react more on this subject.
“I think something like this [a regulation update] we have to consider because that’s the thing we understand that in motorsport you’ll have technical problems and issues but basically because it’s the hybrid units we can’t do anything ourselves because they come from the outside.
“They must not prevent us from continuing the race. We saw Kalle win the rally and he didn’t have a hybrid today and Elfyn didn’t have one this morning, we should be in a situation where they didn’t stop us. I think we could do some updates on the sports regulations.
“The first priority is safety, but I think we can look to improve, to maintain safety [elements]but run the cars.