The next generation of World Rally Cars is set to run with 1.6-liter turbocharged engines – with ratification of that decision due at the March meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.
FIA president Jean Todt insists that nothing had been formally agreed, but said that decisions would be taken at the WMSC in Bahrain next month. Asked when news about the World Rally Championship's future engine package could be expected, Todt replied: "Soon. We have the next World Motor Sport Council meeting in March and that would be the appropriate time to take some decisions and make some announcements."
Ford and Citroen have both developed the chassis for next year's cars, but both are having to test it with alternative engines. Ford is running an S2000 engine and Citroen is employing the current C4 WRC motor.
Todt added: "Can you understand the frustration of the FIA and the frustration of the promoter that we only have two teams competing? I think people would rather have five teams than two and that's what we are trying to address."
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel said he was confident that the switch from two-liter to 1.6-liter power units would happen following Monday's meeting of the Global Working Group.
"I think I am confident now," said Quesnel. "We had the meeting and I understand 1.6-liter turbo is in a good way. So, I think it's going on well. And we will have, I hope, some good news soon."
Despite previously stating that Citroen would not start its development of the new engine before regulations were rubber-stamped, Quesnel said work on the new motor was already under way.
"I can't lie to you, we started already!" he said. "I hope the DS3 will run with the new engine sometime in the summer. It depends on what exactly will be the regulation. Now we knew since the meeting that it will be 1.6-liter turbo. I hope in September at least it should be OK."
Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson said his M-Sport operation was in a similar position.
"We're doing studies and evaluations [into the new engine]," said Wilson. "We have to otherwise we won't be running in time for next January. Our target is September to have the engine up and running."