Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
WRC Rally Chile

M-Sport likely to target young drivers for WRC 2024 after Tanak exit

M-Sport is likely to target signing a young driver line-up for next year’s World Rally Championship tilt following Ott Tanak’s decision to re-join Hyundai.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

The British squad has been forced to reconsider its driver options for next season following confirmation its star signing Tanak has elected to leave the team after one season.

The news comes just days after Tanak scored a convincing win at last weekend’s Rally Chile, his second victory of the season for the team in a campaign littered with misfortune and reliability woes.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener is disappointed to see Tanak depart revealing the team were unable to present an offer to entice the 2019 world champion to stay for 2024.

“Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose Ott, it is such a shame especially after the weekend to show that the car and the team still has pace and is able to win,” Millener told Autosport. 

“But unfortunately the mid-part of the season was unfortunate for us and I think not having the ability to fight for the championship is number one priority for Ott, and I think he feels with the new management at Hyundai there is an opportunity to do that and we have to respect his ideas and his decisions. 

“As much as it is sad to see him go after only 12 months, it has been fantastic to work with him. We wish him all the best. 

“I think he made his decision based on a number of things and obviously it would have taken a lot of time to make sure it is the right decision. But unfortunately, we were not able to make an alternative offer that was able to keep him with us.”

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

M-Sport’s future competing at the WRC’s highest level had already been uncertain for next season as it looked to secure budgets, although team founder Malcolm Wilson has stated there is no intention to halt its Rally1 programme.

With limited availability of rally winners and championship contenders for 2024, Millener has admitted that the team is likely to target a young talent as his replacement. 

“Next year is now obviously a bit more tricky as there isn’t any, as far as we can see, a top three or four driver that can win the championship available to drive with us," he added.

“As we have hinted at our goal is towards focussing more on a young driver line-up to try and promote the next set of characters and youngsters. 

“Sensible drives from youngsters can result in podiums so sometimes every few years we go for a top attempt at the championship, and the next few years after that if we can’t afford to stay at the level and we have to reconsider and go again with the other strategy. 

“But the young driver strategy has worked in the past for M-Sport and has been beneficial for years to come after they have been driving for us, so it is something we are not going to ignore and probably the direction we will head in.   

Millener also explained that it is not a simple case of repurposing Tanak’s salary on new drivers.

Read Also:

 “Of course, Ott is a top driver in the championship and demands top wages,” he added. 

“Yes, if you don’t have someone like that in the team there is a reduction in wages, but it doesn’t mean there is a sudden pool of money because often sponsorship and partnerships can vary in contributions depending on results. 

“We have got to be realistic, the results are going to be different from what we were hoping and aiming for this year. At this moment it is still early and the news has only just been released. We are working now with the partners to see what is available and what opportunities we have for 2024.”

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Tanak to leave M-Sport and re-join Hyundai for WRC 2024
Next article Hyundai expects challenge to manage Neuville and Tanak in WRC 2024

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe