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Richards: FIA drove WRC manufacturers away.

The blame for the withdrawal of both Subaru and Suzuki from the World Rally Championship at the end of last year can be laid squarely at the feet of organisers the FIA, argues David Richards.

Richards' independent engineering concern Prodrive masterminded Subaru's WRC challenge from 1989 until the end of last season when the Japanese car maker suddenly announced it was pulling the plug on the project.

That, allied with Suzuki having similarly quit just days earlier, has left just two works manufacturers left in the form of Citroën and Ford – and the former WRC-winning co-driver suggests that in searching for reasons why, the governing body should look within.

“It's a very difficult period of transition at the moment as we look to the new regulations in 2010,” Richards acknowledged, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio. “The instability has been created by the championship itself I would suggest – over the last few years we've had this debate over what the cars should be, we've had uncertainty about the calendar, we've had so many difficult question marks, and that leaves everybody with reasons to get out.

“That is the worst and the last thing you ever need to do in any championship. You've got to have commitments to people; you've got to have definitive regulations and definitive calendars that work in marketing terms.”

The Welshman added that the new Super 2000-spec being introduced in a year's time is 'not the answer in itself' – and insisted that the solution lies in treating the sport far more like an actual sport, and less as a 'political brick bat'.

“What's being proposed at the moment is a derivative of Super 2000,” the 56-year-old explained. “That's not the answer in itself – it's [about] a whole raft of issues that have to be focussed upon a far more commercial approach.

“The World Rally Championship for far too long has been a political brick bat, and there's no bigger and better example than the way the events are chosen today. Do you believe that Bernie Ecclestone would choose not the best grands prix in the world or the ones that could afford to promote themselves better than anybody else or just go to places for political reasons? No, he wouldn't, of course he wouldn't.”

by Russell Atkins

TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Atkinson (AUS), David Richards (GBR), David Lapworth (GBR), Subaru World Rally Team
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Eric Camilli (FRA) Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Michel Fabre (FRA) Maxine Vilmot (FRA) Citroen DS3 R3T
Simon Evans (AUS) Ben Searcy (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX
Eric Camilli (FRA) Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC

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Elite - Unregistered

January 14, 2009 12:57 PM

From the time the ridiculous rule of 2 stages per set of tyres came the WRC was on the way down. It was aided in its fall by the terrible coverage with the nemesis of any true rallying fan, the on board camera. No longer could we view cars driven in anger, now we got scenes of gravel and bush flying by at 120 kph thanks to roof and bumper mounted cameras. But let''s not forget the director''s favourite, the camera showing the driver''s face !!!!!!!! THAT''S NOT WHY PEOPLE STAND FOR HOURS IN THE SUN AND COLD. They do it to see brilliant and spectacular driving, where you can see and appreciate the vehicle''s attitude to the road with respect to its direction of travel !!!!!

Phill T

January 14, 2009 12:42 PM

"Do you believe that Bernie Ecclestone would choose not the best grands prix in the world or the ones that could afford to promote themselves better than anybody else or just go to places for political reasons? No, he wouldn''t, of course he wouldn''t." No he chooses them based on how much money he can milk out of the circuits for his company & himself!!



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