Ford Will Discontinue WRC Factory Involvement Following '12 Season
Ford "will discontinue its factory involvement in the World Rally Championship at the end of the '12 season," according to Gerald Dirnbeck of MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com. Ford said in a statement that "it wasn't an easy decision." The decision is based on the difficult economic situation in Europe. Ford Europe Marketing & Sales VP Roelant de Waard said, "Ford has a long and proud history in the WRC, and it wasn't an easy decision. We have concluded that it is more beneficiary for the company and the Ford brand to reduce our involvement and put our resources in other areas." Ford decided only in late December to continue its factory involvement in the WRC and signed a two-year deal with British M-Sport. This contract ends now after only one year. M-Sport plans to continue its WRC involvement using the Ford Fiesta. Waard said, "We have a lot of respect for M-Sport and [M-Sport Managing Dir] Malcolm Wilson that ran the Ford WRC team since 1997." M-Sport has to plan its future without Ford. Wilson said, "We understand that difficult decisions have to be made to save jobs at Ford. We accept the commercial reality of this situation. However, we focus on the future and hope to continue our strong technical partnership" (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 10/15).