D-day looms for Ford's future

The director of Ford's world rally team, Jost Capito, has said that he wants a decision over the manufacturer's future participation in the WRC to be made by this year's Rally GB on November 7

D-day looms for Ford's future

The company's participation in the series next year has been in doubt because of fears that radical rule changes introduced by the FIA could substantially drive up costs. The changes, including the expansion of the calendar to 16 rounds, were rubberstamped by the FIA World Motor Sports Council last week.

"We don't like the fact of having 16 rallies next year because 2004 has to be cheaper than this year for us," Capito told wrc.com. "But at least we have a base to work from now. And I'd like to see the situation sorted by the Rally GB."

Malcolm Wilson, the boss of Ford's rally team, added that the fact the changes had now been approved allowed the team to plan for 2004.

"I think we now have a platform on which we can work on," said Wilson. "In the last few months things have been up in the air. We have now got these decisions, so we can actually get to work and produce a plan and a budget and really look for a way forward. We might not like everything that is in there but if we want to stay in the business we have got to work with it."

Wilson did concede that the new Milles Piste recceing system would reduce costs somewhat.

"There are cost savings that have been introduced," he said. "Hopefully, we will be taking less people, we won't be taking recce cars around the world, so there are cost savings there for sure, which we appreciate. Sadly it doesn't come anywhere near to the costs of two extra events - especially in Japan and Mexico."

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