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WEC '24

Parc Ferme: Go WEC!

WEC '24

The FIA announced last week that the development of Formula 1 power units would continue to evolve in a direction relevant to the OEM.

The statement was made by Single Seater Director – Nikolas Tombazis, who now heads up all things F1 within the organization.

Chalk and cheese

To suggest F1 is or needs to be relevant to our road-going transport in this day and age is strange. Functionally and visually, they have always been poles apart.

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However, if there is a need for a monoposto race car to perform this task, surely it’s Formula E. The current crop of F1 engines does not reflect what’s being used commercially, whereas the 2026 PU specifications, which apparently do, have raised concerns over their suitability for racing.

The manufacturers are in F1 for their brand world and news story feeds for that marketing Nirvana: social media. An F1 car’s remoteness from the everyday vehicle is part of its attraction. Relevance in this situation, is not a thing.

Check the WEC

However, if “relevance” to their road-going offerings is required, they need look no further than the World Endurance Championship (WEC), a series that the FIA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest are developing nicely.

However, outside the industry and core motorsport aficionados, it lacks profile. More importantly, it has no FOM-type promoter to turbocharge the process.

It’s over for the time being

This type of announcement sounds more like an attempt to demonstrate who’s in charge of the ship than a realistic strategy going forward.

Unfortunately, press briefings on both sides of the fence are now starting to look like a re-run of the FISA/FOCA battles of the 1980s. None of which benefit F1. For the moment (and the next 100 years) it looks like the FIA will rule F1 much like the British Monarch rules the UK – in name only.

That is unless they can break the commercial grip of FOM. The days of FIA absolutism in F1 ended when Max Mosely replaced Jean Marie Balestre back in 1991. Ironically, it was the following year that WEC, in its previous incarnation as the World Sports Car Championship, folded. Some may say its demise was orchestrated due to its clear and present threat to F1.

Forward vision

WEC has huge potential, one that could come close to matching F1 in terms of profile. Ironically, if the FIA want to elevate its authority in F1, it could build on the excellent work it has already done with WEC. Creating a strong competitor to the current emperor of motorsport whilst remaining inside the tent is a sure way of increasing its influence.