Volkswagen emissions scandal not behind McLaren F1 move - Capito

Jost Capito insists his departure from Volkswagen's World Rally Championship programme for the McLaren Formula 1 team has nothing to do with the emissions crisis and any potential fall-out

Volkswagen emissions scandal not behind McLaren F1 move - Capito

The German was quick to scotch speculation that his decision was due to the deterioration of Volkswagen Group support for the WRC - a programme that has delivered unprecedented success with total domination of the drivers' and manufacturers' championships for the last three years.

The plan to topple Ogier in 2016

Capito, who left Ford in 2012 shortly before the Blue Oval's departure from the WRC was announced, told Autosport: "I heard that people are talking about different reasons for me taking this new job, but I can tell you here and now for sure: there is nothing wrong with Volkswagen Motorsport.

"My decision to move is because of the challenge, this is not a situation which has come around in the last three months since the diesel [emissions] issue.

"I first talked [to McLaren] about the possibility for this in the early summer.

"Volkswagen's programme in the WRC is safe and we need success on this side more than ever before right now.

"Of course, we try to save some budget, but the commitment is the same."

Capito might not start at McLaren until May

VW's budget is reckoned to have been cut by as much as 30 per cent, but the Hannover team has avoided having to reduce its entry by one car as group stablemates Audi and Porsche have for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Instead VW has cut back on its hospitality on European WRC rounds.

Capito said development of the 2017 Polo R WRC was ongoing and the team starts this week's WRC opener in the French Alps with the same determination and board backing as before.

"It's business as usual," said Capito.

"This week we start in Monte Carlo looking for a fourth title with Volkswagen and that will be just as tough - if not tougher - than the ones we have won before.

"When you are the hunted, it is never easy. We start from scratch again this week."

Follow the Monte Carlo Rally as it happens with Autosport Race Centre Live from 7pm UK time on Thursday

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