M-Sport to remain in WRC Rally1

M-Sport to remain in WRC Rally1

M-Sport plans to continue participating in the World Rally Championship at the top level and will make every effort to remain in Rally1, according to CEO Malcolm Wilson.

Following the publication of an interview with M-Sport driver Pierre-Louis Loubet in French media, which hinted the team could possibly not get featured in the upcoming season’s Rally1 field, prompted the team’s future in the WRC to come into question during the weekend’s Acropolis Rally.

Since then, the article has been pulled down after being labelled as fake news.

Wilson acknowledges that the 2023 season for M-Sport has been challenging and claims it has been a “dreadful year” marred by misfortunes and reliability issues. However, Wilson thinks that the team has what it takes to reclaim the top spot and that the squad is still dedicated to participating in the WRC’s premier class in the future.

The M-Sport Ford team has matched its number of victories from the previous campaign through Ott Tanak’s victory at Rally Sweden in February.

“We will be doing whatever we can to try and find a way to stay in at the highest level,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “We have a great team of people and we have still got a great car.

“We have had a dreadful year this year and I don’t know why. I think everyone has these glitches.

“You only have to look at Formula 1 and where Williams and McLaren were, for example. All the ingredients and the resource is still there to get back to where we need to be.”

M-Sport has been a regular in the top category of rallying since 1997, despite the challenges having to compete as a semi-works team with fewer resources than Toyota and Hyundai.

The FIA publicly acknowledges that costs have substantially gone beyond the initial target, which has made it a challenge since the launch of the Rally1 car last year. However, the governing body that oversees motorsports globally is looking into measures to lower the figure.

The primary source of revenue for M-Sport comes from the sale of cars to clients. As of right now, the company has only sold two Rally1 cars, only one of which went to an active contender Jourdan Serderidis.

“I don’t think he [Pierre-Louis] spoke to the guy [the journalist] which is what is confusing me,” M-Sport team principal Richard Millener remarked in response to the rumors over the team’s future. “There are no plans for anything as dramatic as that.

“I think the fact it’s been taken down shows that the news is certainly not real. It was blown out of context and hopefully, we managed to put a lid on it.

“There is no denying that there are challenges every year to find the budgets to continue but there is definitely no discussions about stopping at the moment.

“Certainly Malcolm has no intention to stop and me neither. We have 100 people employed for the rally team and there will be every effort to ensure that we are here.

“Yes we don’t know the driver line-ups for next year and our goal at the moment is to keep Ott Tanak in the team but that is also a significant undertaking.

“But we will just keep going to ensure we can achieve the best we can.”

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