Ott Tänak departs M-Sport Rally Team, forcing reevaluation of driver lineup

Tänak’s Departure
Ott Tänak’s decision to leave the M-Sport Rally Team after just one season has left the British squad in a challenging position. Despite Tänak’s recent victory at Rally Chile, he has opted to explore new opportunities, specifically with Hyundai, citing the chance to contend for the championship as a significant factor.

Disappointment and respect
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener expressed his disappointment at losing Tänak, highlighting the team’s inability to present a compelling offer to retain the 2019 world champion. Millener acknowledges the importance of respecting Tänak’s decision, even if it means parting ways after a relatively short partnership.

Uncertain future and young talent
M-Sport’s future in the World Rally Championship (WRC) was already uncertain due to budget concerns. However, Millener affirmed the team’s commitment to its Rally1 program. With limited options for securing a championship-contending driver for 2024, M-Sport is likely to shift its focus toward young and promising talents. The team sees potential in nurturing the next generation of rally stars.

Financial considerations
Replacing a top-tier driver like Tänak involves more than reallocating his salary. Millener emphasizes that Tänak commanded a significant wage, and without him, the financial dynamics within the team change. Sponsorship and partnerships can fluctuate based on results, adding complexity to the financial aspect of team planning. M-Sport is currently working with partners to assess available opportunities for the 2024 season.

M-Sport’s journey ahead involves adapting to Tänak’s departure, exploring options with young talents, and navigating the financial landscape to maintain competitiveness in the WRC.