Tuesday | 24 Nov 2020

Hyundai and M-Sport Ford in no rush to settle 2021 line-up

Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport Ford will take their time before finalising plans for their driver line-up ahead of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season.

Both Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville will remain in factory i20 World Rally Cars next season.

The identity of the driver of the third car has to be decided, although Dani Sordo (above) is thought to be a near-certainty to stay for a part programme following his second consecutive Rally Italia Sardegna win last month.

Sébastien Loeb’s departure after two seasons, which was announced last month, looks to have opened the door for a wider role for Craig Breen but team principal Andrea Adamo wouldn’t be drawn on those plans.

“I have other things to think about right now,” said Adamo. “I will tell you the plans for third car. When? Before Monte Carlo…”

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It is the same story for M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson. Both his team-leading Finns Esapekka Lappi (below) and Teemu Suninen are out of contract at the end of the season.

Wilson declined to talk in detail about who would be driving the works Ford Fiestas next year.

He said: “We’re in no rush to get the drivers decided, we’ve got a lot going on right now. While much of the attention is focused on the change of regulations coming in 2022, next year’s an important one for us.

“We’ve got some upgrades coming with the car and, obviously, the engine specification from next year will be the one we run for the new homologation [in 2022].

“Of course, we want to be competitive next season, but we haven’t discussed anything with any of the drivers really. I’ll be honest, my focus is on working to get the company through the current crisis.”

M-Sport’s third driver Gus Greensmith is also in negotiation for an extended stay with the British squad.

Toyota Gazoo Racing finalised its line-up on Thursday (19 November) when Sébastien Ogier inked a new one-year deal. Both Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä have a further year remaining on their contracts.