Is Neuville the new H-Man? Who cares, tell us about the length of his contract
This short tweet (did you like that, short tweet, it’s a thing you know) is all we have, but do we really need more. Yes, yes we do. We want to know who will be powering Hyundai’s progress next year – much of what team is all about will be revealed with their lineup for 2014 and beyond. Are they going to go cheap, or very bold? Are they going to pick proven talents or decide against that and go with very green newcomers? There are names and then there are Names floating around, one more often than the others, but in the end, Hyundai will have to settle with what they can afford and what they deem optimal for their debut year. Perhaps they’ll pick the combination of the two extremes, or maybe the idea of sharing a car between drivers sounds tempting to them, we don’t know. But do we really care that much? I for one don’t, and here’s why.
Personally, I would love to know about the drivers, of course. Names are always interesting, but what interests me even more is the length of those contracts. What WRC needs more than anything is long term stability upon which it can rebuild itself and grow. WRC media today went all bonkers with the predictions, of course, they all see Thierry Neuville as the next H-Man, but then things become a little less obvious. Some claim the contract is for two years, others swear to three, so what should I do? Claim it’s in fact a five year contract with the explicit promise of a title winning car from the year two onwards? No, that would be silly. Or would it?
Five years is forever, I’m afraid. You know how everything I write usually ends up with TV issues and promoter, well this is no exception. Granted, manufacturers and organizers (hopefully) know a bit more about the plans for the future of the WRC than us, mere mortals, but even then five years is a bit too much. So two or three years sound optimal – simply because I believe Neuville, if it is indeed him behind this news, would not be tempted to move from the safety of the Qatar M-Sport to uncertainty of Hyundai for just one season.
Allow me to backtrack a bit now. When I said I’m more interested in length than names, I meant I am quite positively thrilled to hear these “news” claiming Hyundai signed this unnamed driver for the next three years. To me that spells really serious commitment. If three years are true, Hyundai is here to stay no matter what 2014 will bring. Or at least that’s what I hope in my rather simplistic approach. And that’s why I’m always more interested in years vs. names. If we can have a nice set of names and a nice long term programme, that would be perfect!
— Hyundai Motorsport (@HyundaiWRC) November 4, 2013