The World Rally Championship should consider adopting shorter stages if it wants to build a greater social media following in the future, according to FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen.
Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has advocated shorter, more centralised routes for future rounds of the World Rally Championship and his countryman Mahonen admitted he could see the benefit of such a plan.
“Rallying has come through an evolution,” Mahonen told Autosport. “We can’t go back to the old good times.
“I try to say rallying how we used to know it, it doesn’t exist anymore, it’s racing on gravel.
“These cars are not made for that kind of thing: endurance, reliability and so on.
“Of course, these are my private thoughts, but if you would really like a format for the social media we should say instead that not any stage can be longer than 10 kilometres because then you have the news.”
Mahonen added that he wasn’t too concerned at the need for a top-down approach from the FIA, with event organisers generally moving towards more compact rallies.
“It’s very seldom you see long stages any more,” he added. “In a perfect world, if you just would build it for the media, to create stories so it should be 10km [stages] actually.”
He singled out Rally GB’s 2017 route for particular criticism.
“I’m sorry to say this, like in the UK, how long shall we allow it that the events dictate the format?” he said.
“You know, 140 kilometres [with no service]. I fully understand the reason behind, because Wales is coming with the money.
“We have experience to give freedom to the organiser to come with their strengths and do the rally as they would like it. But I have to say we have failed.
“In some cases it works, in some cases it doesn’t work. A certain degree of standardisation is needed in rallies.”