Ford to axe rally program and push F1?

There is discontent in the ranks of the World Rally Championship following the announcement that the WRC calendar in 2004 is to be expanded to 16 events, including new events in Japan and Mexico. This has upset several of the manufacturers and it is rumored that Ford and Hyundai may both pull out.

Ford Europe runs the program and it is currently under huge pressure to save money because of the massive losses in recent months and we hear from Cologne that the competition department there cannot justify asking for more money for extra rallies while cuts are being made elsewhere. The cancellation of the WRC program could however work in the favor of F1.

Ford Europe is involved with Jordan but the management in Cologne has changed recently and it is not yet clear whether the new bosses are keen to continue.

There is also new management at Jaguar Cars where Joe Greenwell will soon take over as chief executive, replacing Bob Dover who retires on October 1. Greenwell was the head of Jaguar PR when the company first entered F1 and is a big supporter of the use of F1 to boost Jaguar sales.

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