Sebastien Ogier: I'll stay at M-Sport for WRC 2018 if Ford backs it

Sebastien Ogier will stay at M-Sport for the 2018 World Rally Championship if Ford gives it factory backing again, but is talking to rivals in case it does not

Sebastien Ogier: I'll stay at M-Sport for WRC 2018 if Ford backs it

Ogier joined Malcolm Wilson's team following Volkswagen's abrupt WRC exit last winter.

He won in Monte Carlo and Portugal leads the championship by 18 points over Hyundai's Thierry Neuville.

"I am thinking about next year now and it's no secret that I want to continue in good conditions," Ogier told Autosport.

"I don't say that right now the conditions are not good, but I know in the long-term M-Sport alone won't have the resource to continue fighting against the factory teams.

"But, at the same time, I like stability and I would love for Ford to finally agree to support us.

"If Ford come I think I would stay.

"You have to wait and see in what way and on what terms, but if they are coming with decent support we need to improve some things.

"That would be my option number one, but of course I have started to work on other options.

"I cannot wait for October or November like last year."

Wilson is desperate to retain his 2017 driver line-up, especially after Ogier's team-mate Ott Tanak took his first WRC win in Sardinia last weekend and Elfyn Evans came within 0.7 seconds of victory in the DMACK Fiesta in Argentina.

But Wilson admitted keeping Ogier without more funding was unlikely.

"Make no mistake, the aim is to keep what we have here for next season," he said.

"I can understand where Sebastien is coming from and that's why we're working flat-out to try to make it happen.

"The ability to keep Seb can come one of two ways: we either find a backer - and that's why we are pushing like hell to find a title sponsor for the team - or it comes from Ford coming back with us.

"Without either of those things happening, it's simply not possible for us to keep him.

"We put an awful lot on the line this year.

"I went out on a bit of a limb, seeing this as a golden opportunity to put a driver I've always wanted in my car.

"We appreciate the technical support and long-standing relationship with Ford.

"However, to do [run Ogier] again under the same circumstances would be financially irresponsible for the future of M-Sport."

Asked about the Ford's financial commitment to the WRC, Ford's performance director Dave Pericak told Autosport: "People don't realise how involved Ford is already with M-Sport.

"They've been a partner for a long time, we helped them develop the new car and we help them technically quite a bit.

"We don't discuss the financial situation.

"Let's enjoy what we're doing right. We think we have a plan for this season: we're going to try and go after that championship."

shares
comments
Esapekka Lappi secures Toyota seat for rest of 2017 WRC after Italy

Previous article

Esapekka Lappi secures Toyota seat for rest of 2017 WRC after Italy

Next article

Why Ford has to back Sebastien Ogier and M-Sport in the WRC

Why Ford has to back Sebastien Ogier and M-Sport in the WRC
Load comments
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021