Tanak in talks but WRC 2024 future yet to be decided

Ott Tanak says his 2024 World Rally Championship plans are yet to be decided but feels discussions regarding the future direction of rallying’s top tier are just as important.

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

The 2019 world champion is out of contract for next season having penned a one-year deal with M-Sport Ford for the 2023 campaign, after leaving Hyundai with a year remaining on his contract.

Tanak has endured a difficult return to the Ford squad that offered him his first full-time WRC season in 2012.

The Estonian claimed victory in Sweden and finished second in Croatia, although those results are his only visits to the podium to date this year.

Tanak says he wishes to continue competing in the WRC next year while M-Sport is hoping to secure his services for 2024.

However, M-Sport bosses have admitted it won’t be a straightforward decision to keep Tanak. The British team’s future at rallying’s highest level next year has been questioned, although boss Malcolm Wilson says the squad has no intention to stop competing in Rally1 in 2024.

Tanak revealed in Greece he’s had discussions with all WRC teams but admitted it is “difficult' to know how his future will pan out.

Toyota is yet to announce its 2024 line-up with Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans and Sebastien Ogier all out of contract, while Thierry Neuville is the only contracted driver at Hyundai.

“The plan or the idea is to continue,” said Tanak at the Acropolis Rally. “How it will work out is difficult to say.

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“There has not been too many discussions yet, so I guess will find out any time soon.”

Pressed on the discussions surrounding his future, Tanak revealed that WRC’s future is also on his mind.

The championship has come in for criticism from drivers, teams and fans this year regarding a perceived lack of appeal.

The WRC Promotor and the FIA have since spoken with drivers and teams and have collated a list of ideas designed to improve the championship, some of those will be discussed at a meeting of the WRC Commission on Friday.

“There are always discussions with all of them [WRC teams], there are so few teams and the group is small that you always speak to everyone, whether it is contracts or whatever everyone is in touch with each other,” added Tanak.

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“Of course there are discussions but the place where the sport is [currently], there are so many more important things than just the [contract] talks.

“At the moment the most crucial thing is for the Promoter and the FIA to make something more refreshing for the future. The sport is not doing great for the moment.”

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