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Permanent WRC cabin heat fix shouldn’t be rushed

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Rising temperatures in the cabin of hybrid cars new for 2022 have prompted the FIA ​​and the teams to react to address the issue that arose during Rally de Portugal in May.

Conditions inside the Rally1 cars have turned out to be much hotter compared to the previous generation of WRC cars, thanks to a key change in vehicle design that has resulted in the exhaust being moved from a central position to the right hand side of the exhaust. cockpit, close to where the co-pilot sits. .

As a result, temperatures have risen and some drivers describe conditions as unsafe in Portugal.

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This prompted a swift reaction from the FIA, which drew up a list of quick modifications that teams could make to their cars to help address the situation at Rally Sardinia last month, where ambient temperatures reached 40 degrees.

Teams were allowed to redesign roof vents, add vents and put reflective film on windows and roofs to reflect heat away from the cabin, while ceramic tiles around the firewall were encouraged, engine compartment and exhaust.

It is understood that in some cases, quick fixes reduced the cabin temperature by approximately five degrees.

While the conditions were difficult for the crews, M-Sport team principal Millener believes the FIA ​​should monitor the situation before rushing to find a permanent solution to the problem that could come at a significant cost to the teams.

“I honestly think they [the FIA] could have seen it coming and they have allowed the regulations to develop with the exhaust going down a tunnel down the side of the car so you don’t get the airflow you used to get on older cars,” Millener told Motorsport. com.

“You can also argue that all the manufacturers are involved in the design phase, so they were all involved when these cars were put together. But the speed with which something can be changed is not so easy.

“It is important that we do not rush to make changes. We need to see how much it is causing us problems and one of the suggestions early on was to have side exhausts and get rid of the whole exhaust system, but I think the FIA ​​didn’t want that. It could be an option.

“There are other things that we can look at in the future and maybe at the end of the year we can redesign something, but you also have to be sensible and understand that there are a lot of costs involved in that.

“If you throw yourself into something that costs a lot of money for a problem once a year, it’s not a budget well spent for anyone. I think we have to keep an eye on it and see what we can do.”

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The addition of air conditioning units to cars has been postponed, but Millener feels that unless it is mandated, it will not provide the required solution.

“Air conditioning units can be added, but unless everyone has to, there will always be a team that will say no, because of the extra weight and power needed to run the system,” Millener added.

“I think Sardinia was going to be our worst event of the season. [for heat]Kenya is still going to be hot, but we all have small adjustments that we made for the last rally and we are carrying them forward.”

Ahead of this weekend’s Safari Rally, the WRC teams will continue to use their modified cars and are less concerned about the issue of heat in the cockpit, given the fast open stages in Kenya and ambient temperatures not expected to exceed 25 degrees.

“The verdict [on the changes in Sardinia] it was really positive,” Toyota technical director Tom Fowler told Motorsport.com. “The Sardinian teams were really surprised considering how hot it was that the inside of the car wasn’t too bad.

“Of course we have made some improvements since Portugal and it is working.

“I think it’s okay [for Kenya]. Obviously, the lower the speed, the harder it is to cool everything down.

“Here in Sardinia we had a lot of really slow and medium speed stages and we were still good, so I think Kenya is a bit more open in most of the stages, so we should be pretty good.”

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