The ACO has revealed that the 2020 LMP1 regulations will be “substantially altered” compared to what was announced at Le Mans in June, although remaining committed to hybrid technology, but “not at any price.”
Tweaks to the 2018 LMP1 regulations, which will see larger fuel allowances given to non-hybrid prototypes via Equivalence of Technology measures, were announced on Friday, along with the intention of rolling out with a revised set of LMP1 regulations for the 2020-2021 season.
FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu confirmed that its proposed fast-charging plug-ins and 1km stretch of all-electric driving concept for 2020 has been abandoned, with an overall re-think of the future regulations now underway.
“The 2020 LMP1 regulations will be substantially altered as compared to the model that was presented at Le Mans,” Neveu said Friday during a media briefing in Mexico City.
“We cannot exactly say for sure because the current situation pushed us to modify, of course.
“The ACO and FIA are absolutely convinced that technology, including the hybrid system, must be kept in place in endurance racing, but not at any price.
“The budget invested in [current] LMP1 Hybrid is no longer sustainable; we know that now.”
Neveu said they must return to a “reasonable budget” to allow manufacturers to compete, following the excessive 150-200 million Euro annual budgets from both Audi and Porsche that ultimately spiraled the category out of control.
Toyota is the lone remaining LMP1 Hybrid entrant, with the Japanese manufacturer yet to make a decision on its plans for 2018 and beyond amid Porsche’s withdrawal announcement last month.
“Some potential manufacturers are still around the table and discussing,” Neveu said. “The technical working group from the FIA and ACO are altering now a new investigation.
“The question will be, ‘Where do we put the level of the costs of the budget [to be] acceptable.’ But nothing to compare with what’s going on today.”
Neveu said further details are expected to be presented “in the coming weeks” but stressed his desire to continue with some form of hybrid technology into 2020, although not yet fully defined.
“This is part of the discussion now, between the technical [people] from the FIA and ACO and the potential manufacturers,” he said. “Where is the level of the next hybrid? We have to keep a space for hybrid.
“You have hybrids in most championships now and this is the future considering the modernization of the road-relevant car.
“If you believe hybrid will disappear, you’re wrong. Hybrid has to stay in a reasonable budget position to make the rules compromise between the sport program and technology used.”