Ott Tänak believes that reducing penalties after a hybrid system failure does not attack the heart of the problem, and that control over the hybrid units made available to WRC teams should be strengthened.
While the WRC is about to resume its rights this weekend on the occasion of the third round of the championship in Croatia, Ott Tänak intends to finally start his season after two difficult first events.
The 2019 World Champion in the discipline remains, in fact, disappointed during the Swedish Rally, held almost two months ago, with a distant 20th place on arrival due to a technical problem with the hybrid engine of your Hyundai. In fact, an alarm had appeared in the control unit of his hybrid system at the time, while the Estonian driver was fighting for victory in Scandinavia, which had forced his team to stop him for safety reasons despite his i20 N Rally1 was still fully in running condition. .
Tänak was then penalized for an additional ten minutes, losing all hope of being able to finish in the top 10 despite being able to resume the start of the test the next day.
At the request of Hyundai, Toyota and M-Sport, this particularly strict regulation has, however, been revised from Sweden by the WRC and the FIA, which have reduced the penalty imposed for this technical problem to two minutes per lost stage. With this format, Tänak would have had the opportunity to finish much higher in the hierarchy two months ago, with a likely end in the top 6.
Despite this, the driver of Hyundai believes that the heart of the problem has not yet been resolved by the governing bodies: “Sanctions have, of course, evolved, but the problem is elsewhere.”said Tänak, who is currently 41 points behind championship leader Kalle Rovanperä. “Hybrid systems aren’t ready for a competition like rallying right now, and I think that’s the issue that needs to be looked at, not sanctions. You can impose a penalty, the fact is that manufacturers and teams have no control over it. It doesn’t matter if it’s sanctioned or not. “
“Rallying is a difficult sport. If you use these hybrid devices, they should be suitable for this type of competition. And at the moment it is clear that they are not. We are in charge of improving these systems because we In fact, we can “My opinion is that we are looking into the wrong subject. Guys are trying to figure out when the red flag was waved, when we shouldn’t have even been notified. It’s still fun to watch.” I was forced to give up Sweden and them [Compact Dynamics, le fournisseur des systèmes d’hybridation du championnat] they can’t tell us why. “
An issue not yet determined
Hyundai team leader Julien Moncet himself admitted that its structure had not yet clearly determined what exactly was missing from its driver’s car during the last round, despite research by Compact Dynamics over the past eight weeks. which has separated the Swedish rally from the Croatian rally.
“Of course, Compact Dynamics has done a lot of research, but not everything is clear as we speak.”declared Moncet a Motorsport.com. “Compact Dynamics has done some research and we’ve been working on the car to make it better, but at the moment the root of the problem is still unknown, so we can’t rule out this problem happening again. a real concern, because of course we don’t want that to happen again. “
Tänak was not the only participant to suffer from this problem in the Rally of Sweden, where Elfyn Evans was also the target of a similar technical problem. With much less luck, the Welshman was unable to restart his hybrid unit after an accident. The box showed no alarm, leaving the computer uncertain about the integrity of the system.
The driver of Toyota, for his part, believes that it is difficult to find a solution, while assuring that a parade has still been found in case the hybrid system does not show alerts during the upcoming events. “We all knew there could be a potential problem at the beginning of the year, when everyone had the same equipment.”says Evans. “It’s always harder to solve a problem that is not the responsibility of the teams. I don’t know if there is a real solution given the current regulations.”
And Evans to return to his Swedish misfortune: “We know the alarm didn’t indicate what the biggest problem was. We couldn’t get it up and running, so there was no indication of whether or not it was a good integrity of the system.”
The M-Sport team has not suffered the problems that have affected its rivals, Hyundai and Toyota. However, the modification of the sanction imposed in case of failure of the hybrid system was the subject of consultation among the team leaders, as explained by Richard Millener, manager of the English structure: “I’m in tune with that.”
“We talked about sanctions ranging from one to two minutes, and we opted for the latter option because we considered it fairer. Two minutes is, in fact, the time it takes to repair a puncture. Remember we had a development very short period for both the car and the technology, and it is inevitable that some things will have to be refined during the season.