World Rally Championship drivers have called for more input into the debate over the future format of events.
The question of what to do with the final day of WRC rounds has become a hot topic, amid a new push for a radical revamp that could involve event victories being decided with a last-stage shootout, but drivers feel they are under-represented in the discussions.
The championship’s most experienced driver, Mikko Hirvonen, said: “It would be nice if we could be listened to a little bit more, we all have some ideas about the future. For me, the idea of the shootout on Sunday is stupid, but my co-driver [Jarmo Lehtinen] came up with a good plan.
“Jarmo’s idea is to do two days: Friday and Saturday, maybe make them a little bit longer and make a final classification at the end of Saturday. Then on Sunday we could have one extra stage, maybe around 10km and offer an extra five, three and one point. That stage wouldn’t have any impact on the rally or on the sport.
“The shootout idea is basically playing football or ice hockey for the full time and then deciding the result on penalties.”
Volkswagen drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier both felt the current discussion was flawed. Latvala favors more points for the Powerstage, while Ogier wants to see the traditional format maintained but the promotion ramped up.
“The best thing for me would be to keep something which still has the spirit of the rally and not completely change it,” said the reigning champion. “OK, we have to try to find a solution to make more of a show and bring some more viewers for the television coverage – and, of course, we need the live television – but I’m not agreeing with all of the solutions which have been proposed.”
On the subject of a stronger drivers’ voice in the sport, Ogier added: “It’s nice if they listen to what we say. The drivers do have some good ideas. But it’s not my job to promote the sport. I do my best in the car and I am happy to help if I can and I try to help the sport in general. I trust there are intelligent people who are making these decisions.”