FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu says he’s unsure whether a third Hypercar manufacturer will join Toyota and Aston Martin on the grid for the first season of the new formula in 2020-21, although remains “pragmatic” on the platform’s long-term success.
Confirmed at Le Mans in June, the yet-to-be-named class has gathered significant interest from additional manufacturers, most notably McLaren, Porsche and Lamborghini, although all three have ruled out being ready for the the first season.
While being in dialogue with “many” OEMs, Neveu said they have to maintain realistic expectations for the short-term.
“I think it’s very difficult to say right now because the decisions are going very fast in both directions,” Neveu told Sportacar365.
“With SMP [withdrawing from LMP1] but also when you discover that manufacturers are finding [Hypercar] interesting.
“We have to start Season 8 first, and in the middle of the year we see better where we are for September 2020. But it’s too early to say anything.”
When asked on the prospects of a third OEM being ready for next year, Neveu indicated that it currently “very challenging” given the short timeframe.
“I believe that for 2021, yeah,” he said. “For 2020, I don’t think so because to be ready you must start to work very intensively now. Except if it’s someone who uses an existing chassis or like this. It looks very challenging.
“There are many discussions in the backstage. There is a lot of interest. But I’m very pragmatic.
“Interest is one thing. The only thing that is interesting is the commitments in the end. Personally I believe we have to be quiet when there is discussion. The day there is a decision, there is an announcement.”
While FIA President Jean Todt has been bullish on Hypercar’s future, having name-dropped five additional manufacturers that could be in dialogue for programs, Neveu insists that he’s striving for quality over quantity.
“Very frankly, we don’t need to have ten [manufacturers],” Neveu said. “If you have [between] two and four, that’s enough. If you have more, it starts to be another problem.
“We had such a very good championship in the last years with three manufacturers in LMP1.”
WEC Preparing For Evolution in 2021?
Neveu, meanwhile, has hinted that changes could be on the way in the structure and format of the WEC by as early as 2021.
While planning to retain the winter calendar format, which concludes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Neveu said the championship needs to keep up with the ever-changing automotive industry.
“The fact is that from our organizer and promoter position, my belief is that we have to pay attention to see how we want to set up the championship in 2021,” he said.
“The world is changing very quickly now, very quickly. The automotive global market is very different and under pressure, which is difficult but also good.
“This is a period where you have to reset and to reconsider many things. It’s a good opportunity to re-think about the format and how you manage that.
“I believe we have to be careful with the economical aspect, the budget, the way we travel with the teams and with the governance process. I think this is very, very important.”