Just as the WRC was on the up, some bad news has come into view. Release from Ford says that Ford are to withdraw as a title sponsor from the FIA World Rally Championship after 2012 Season.
COLOGNE, Oct. 15, 2012 — Ford of Europe today announced that it will withdraw from the FIA World Rally Championship as a title sponsor after the 2012 season. The company said it made the decision as part of a review of its European business in the current difficult economic environment.
“Ford has a long and proud history in the WRC and this was not an easy decision,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. “At this time, however we determined that it was better for the company and the Ford brand to reduce our commitment to the WRC and deploy our resources in other areas.”
Ford’s long-term rallying partner, UK-based M-Sport, plans to continue competing in WRC with the Fiesta. Ford is in discussions with M-Sport to provide continued vehicle and engineering support, including for the recently announced Fiesta R5 for the new-for-2013 WRC-2 series, and the Fiesta R2 for grass-roots national and regional driver programmes.
“We have great respect for M-Sport and Malcolm Wilson, who have run the Ford WRC team since 1997, and there is no organization with more expertise and commitment to winning,” de Waard said. “Working together, we have reached a point where the Ford Fiesta has become the car of choice in rallying, and we want to see this continue in the future.”
Ford also said it wished to thank its rallying fans, drivers, the FIA, and its many WRC partners, including team main sponsors BP and Castrol, for their support and commitment.
In response to the announcement from Ford of Europe that they will reduce their commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of the season, M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said today:
I would like to thank Ford of Europe for their enthusiastic support and the faith shown in the team over the past 16 seasons. We understand that tough decisions have had to be made to safeguard Ford jobs, we accept the commercial reality of the situation and look forward to continuing our strong technical partnership into the future.
“M-Sport is extremely proud of our history with Ford since 1997; 208 podium finishes, scoring points on 156 consecutive events and 52 wins from 225 starts in the WRC along with two world titles underlines the dedication and commitment of the whole team in Cumbria.
”My intention is that we will continue to push to secure stage wins and overall results on the forthcoming events for Ford and to push forward with the development work that was started in March this year to improve and refine the Fiesta WRC even further, ready for the 2013 season.
”We will also continue to work closely with our colleagues at Ford Racing towards the launch of the Fiesta R5 for March 2013 and the improvements that we are working on for the R2 car which will continue to the form the basis of a series of national and regional young driver programmes in the future.
“Confirmation of our key championship programmes for 2013 is our first priority and a challenge that the team here is very much looking forward to. After that we can review all options and determine the right direction for the future