World Rally Championship Commission president Morrie Chandler has revealed plans to force manufacturers to run a single engine through the season.
Chandler admitted the plans were unlikely to be implemented in time for next season, but he said they were at the core of the FIA's hopes of continuing to contain costs in the WRC. He believes the one engine per season plan is viable and could be policed in the WRC, but has concerns about its use in other international rally series.
"The ultimate intention for us is to get to the situation where you have one engine for a year," said Chandler. "In the WRC, we will keep the cap on it [rising costs of engine development], but in other series – such as the IRC – where they can change their engine every event, the costs are going to rise."
Chandler accepted there would have to be a significant amount of development done to produce an engine which lasted for the whole season and he acknowledged waivers would have to be produced.
"Obviously," he said, "we'll have to get a rule because something will happen to an engine when there's an exceptional technical breakdown, which is nobody's fault, and the engine will need changing. This is not coming for next year, but that's the obligation [to make one engine per year work].
"There's no point in us saying every engine has a one-year life, we can't police this outside of the WRC. The solution in my mind is that we have to make the World Rally Championship so affordable that that's where people go and those who don't care about money can go elsewhere and have a new engine for every rally. That way, they're not going to damage our sport, and our sport will be available to those who have more limited funds, but they have the skills."
Ford's technical director Christian Loriaux admitted it would be possible to run one engine per year, but he added that the development costs were currently prohibitive.
"Everything is possible with an engine," said Loriaux. "The engine in your road car will last 200,000 miles, so, yes, we can make a competition engine that will last a season. But the costs will be very high.
"What we will have to do is make an engine that lasts 8,000 competitive kilometers and then goes bang at 8,005 kilometers. The way to do this is to test a car under those conditions, but what happens when our test engine blows up at 5,000 kilometers? We have to start again. And, when we have done 8,000 kilometers, we have to validate those figures by doing it again – and then for a third time. Suddenly, we have had to test for more than 24,000 kilometers on asphalt, gravel and snow. That would cost a lot of money."