Ford leaves the manufacturers championship, but the cars will remain in 2013. M-Sport is planning to stay and are hoping for a continued cooperation with Ford over cars and engines.
One immediate effect of Fords decision will most likely be that Finn Jari-Matti Latvala leaves Ford and joins Volkswagen the coming season.
On Monday Ford Europa made public their decision to leave the WRC. A pressed economy paired with the ambition to enter other motor sports – likely WTCC – are the reasons.
– Ford have a long and proud history in the WRC and this was not an easy decision to make. But at this point in time we feel that it is better for the company and the brand to withdraw from the WRC and spread our resources on other areas, says Roelant de Waard, Vice President for Ford Europe.
The British company M-Sport have since 1997 been running the Ford Manufacurers Team in the WRC. Now they are planning to continue to run the Fiesta RS WRC 2013. Discussions are ongoing regarding the Fiesta R5 for the new class WRC-2.
During 2012 Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg have been driving for the Ford Manufacturers Team. The Finn has an offer from Volkswagen and will of course after this decision by Ford choose to take it. Volkswagen returns to the WRC in 2013 and have already now contracted Frenshman Sébastien Ogier.
What the future for Petter Solberg will be remains to be seen.
After the announcement from Hyundai that they are returning to the WRC – likely in 2014 – rumors are now going around that M-Sport will be running the Korean team.