Rebellion Racing has ruled out running its second LMP1 car for the full 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season although is prepared to return to a two-car operation for the final rounds of the season at Spa and Le Mans, according to Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra.
The Swiss squad, which entered its No. 3 Rebellion R13 Gibson for Pipo Derani, Nathanael Berthon and Loic Duval in last weekend’s 4 Hours of Silverstone, is unlikely to be back with both cars until the penultimate round of the season due to budget and logistical reasons.
Bouhadra explained the last-minute decision to run the second car at Silverstone resulted in the drastic measures of having to stop its Japan-bound sea freight while in Greece in order to retrieve enough parts to operate the car for the season-opener.
“Since the beginning, we’ve put all of our energies in the last two months to have two cars in the full championship,” Bouhadra told Sportscar365.
“We took the risk to buy two entries for the [2019-20] championship. The problem is after [that] we had the reality of the budget, and to make it happen we had to find the proper sponsors.
“Finally it was not enough for us to do the full season.
“We unfortunately took the decision to say, ‘OK we can just do one car for the season and concentrate our energy on the new regulations.'”
Bouhadra said contesting the overseas races with the car would be “complicated” both from a budget and logistical standpoint.
“Obviously for the European races, it’s easier for us to make it happen,” he said.
“I can confirm we’re ready to have a second car at Spa and Le Mans and now it will depend on what’s going on with the championship with the regulation and the ACO, WEC, etc.
“We have the confirmation [from WEC] that we can have two cars in Le Mans and Spa.”
While having scored a podium finish in Silverstone, Bouhadra said “everything is open” in regards to the driver lineup for the No. 3 car, should it contest the final two rounds of the season.
“[Silverstone] was a test for me, to know what is possible,” he said. “I’m very proud of this lineup. It’s a good lineup. Obviously we will make a small change if we have to make a change.”
The No. 1 crew of Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato, meanwhile, have been confirmed for the full season.
Bouhadra: “Huge Consequences” of Running Single Entry
Bouhadra said he’s aware of the risks at play by operating only a single entry for the majority of the WEC season, admitting they won’t have another car to fall back on in the event of problems for the No. 1 Rebellion.
A technical issue for the No. 1 entry at Silverstone saw it finish tenth overall after running in podium contention alongside the third-place finishing No. 3 Rebellion.
“The consequences of the risk if you have an issue with one car [is huge],” Bouhadra said.
“Like you saw with United [Autosports], they did [two laps] and done. All the effort and work on the team, after one lap, done.
“This is my main concern for racing the season with one car.”
The single-car effort will also result in a significant downsizing of the team come Fuji, with approximately 40 mechanics not having been hired for the full season.
Bouhadra explained one of the major reasons of the downsizing this season is to prepare for a possible Hypercar project that could come online by the 2021-22 season.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, the team could use the 2020-21 season as a “development” year with an OEM in preparation for a full assault in Season 2 of the new regulations.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report