FIA president Jean Todt says the possibility of Eurosport becoming the World Rally Championship promoter will not lead to a merger between the series and the Eurosport-owned Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The prospect of greater collaboration or a full-scale merger between the WRC and IRC has been mooted for several years, and with Eurosport favorite to take on the WRC promoting role, there was speculation that an agreement between the championships would move closer. But speaking in a press conference in Monte Carlo today, Todt said there was no chance of uniting the WRC and IRC.
"They work to different matters," he said. "The WRC is the FIA's world championship. IRC is a commercial series; it's nothing to do with the FIA. Some parts of IRC are part of the European Rally Championship."
Todt believes the WRC's calendar will move increasingly beyond Europe, whereas the IRC has now become a Europe-only series, and shares several events with the European Championship.
"It is clear that we have a vision for rally which is quite ambitious," Todt said. "At the moment, if you ask me if I am happy with the calendar of the World Rally Championship, the answer is no. You cannot call the World Rally Championship a championship with 10 rallies in Europe and three outside of Europe.
"We need a more balanced calendar, but this doesn't happen in one day. We want to have the re-introduction of one rally in Africa, one in Russia and Asia. Definitely we have to consider the balance of the calendar.
"We also want a very strong European Rally Championship, which is part of the FIA assets. Of course, we move on with our discussions with Eurosport Events, they are the organizers of the commercial series and this is something we will address on the long-term strategy."