Malcolm Wilson set on rebuilding M-Sport to push for 2020 titles

Malcolm Wilson has set himself the task of rebuilding M-Sport financially in 2019 so the independent Cumbrian team can return as a stronger operation to challenge for both WRC titles in 2020.

Wilson agreed that the last two WRC campaigns had taken a toll and that allied to dwindling R5 sales and the almost complete loss of WR Car sales meant he would have to focus on the commercial side of his operation this season, while Rich Millener steps up as team principal.

"Rich has been with us 10 years now and he’s got a really good grip on all aspects of the WRC and the customer world," Wilson said. "It’s no secret that I need to get my business back on track to shore up the foundations for the future.

"It would not be fair to say Ogier has derailed M-Sport’s financial plans, but he hasn’t helped. In fact, the biggest aspect is that we haven’t sold any World Rally Cars. Historically we’ve sold between eight and 14 cars a year and I thought we’d continue that trend. In the last two years, we’ve sold two and that, combined with the downturn in R5 sales – especially now that everybody knows we’ve got a new car coming this year – has hit us hard.

"The target is for 2020. Obviously we’re hoping Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen are right there, but if not, then I want to have the funding to go for an Ott Tänak or a driver like that. I want to be back in the position to fight for the titles again."

He also said that there would be no holding back in development this year, adding: "One of the ground rules established with Rich and I, is that there won’t be any reduction in what we do with the car. It’s absolutely cast in stone that we keep the car competitive and that resource is there.

"Rich is so hungry for this, he’s coming to me with ideas all of the time. He has autonomy over the team and the decisions, but of course I’ll be there in the background.

"We’re all about giving youngsters a chance, be that drivers, mechanics or people like Rich. He’s come up through the ranks, starting out in parts sales and he’s worked his way through the company."