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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Cumbria's M-Sport to 'review all options' after Ford quits WRC

Rally boss Malcolm Wilson says he will fight to save the jobs of more than 200 staff at his M-Sport headquarters after Ford pulled out of the World Rally Championship.

Malcolm Wilson photo
Malcolm Wilson

Ford will end its funding of the World Rally team as part of a review of its European business in the difficult economic environment.

Wilson’s M-Sport operation at Dovenby Hall, near Cockermouth, which builds and prepares rally cars, employs more than 230 staff in Cumbria and Poland.

The decision by Ford to withdraw its financial backing has raised fears of job cuts but Wilson hopes new backers can be found to safeguard the future of his workforce.

Ford will continue to provide M-Sport with engineering and vehicle support and a new Fiesta F5 will be launched from Wilson’s business in March 2013.

Wilson described the shattering news as the worst day of his career but he is determined M-Sport will continue to thrive.

“The feeling among our staff will be one of great disappointment I’m sure and telling them the news was very, very difficult for me,” he said.

“But we still have a lot of positives and at the moment it is business as usual.

“Ford have pulled out as title sponsors. We are still getting support but we need to find sponsors to still compete at the highest level.

“It is early days to say what the consequences are. I can not say there won’t be any impact [on jobs] but hopefully as things progress in the next few days hopefully thee will be more positive news.

"I would like to thank Ford of Europe for their enthusiastic support and the faith shown in the team over the past 16 seasons.

"We understand that tough decisions have had to be made to safeguard Ford jobs, we accept the commercial reality of the situation and look forward to continuing our strong technical partnership into the future.”

Mr Wilson issued a statement on his firm's website soon after news of Ford's decision became public knowledge.

It said: “I would like to thank Ford of Europe for their enthusiastic support and the faith shown in the team over the past 16 seasons. We understand that tough decisions have had to be made to safeguard Ford jobs, we accept the commercial reality of the situation and look forward to continuing our strong technical partnership into the future.

“M-Sport is extremely proud of our history with Ford since 1997; 208 podium finishes, scoring points on 156 consecutive events and 52 wins from 225 starts in the WRC along with two world titles underlines the dedication and commitment of the whole team in Cumbria.

”My intention is that we will continue to push to secure stage wins and overall results on the forthcoming events for Ford and to push forward with the development work that was started in March this year to improve and refine the Fiesta WRC even further, ready for the 2013 season.

”We will also continue to work closely with our colleagues at Ford Racing towards the launch of the Fiesta R5 for March 2013 and the improvements that we are working on for the R2 car which will continue to the form the basis of a series of national and regional young driver programmes in the future.

“Confirmation of our key championship programmes for 2013 is our first priority and a challenge that the team here is very much looking forward to. After that we can review all options and determine the right direction for the future.”

Have your say

mary j you obviously are no motor sport fan so why post such a negative commennt
i am a motorsport fan and i cant see the point n kicking a football round a muddy field and getting paid £200000 a week for doing it thease guys are risking there life and its only the very top guys that are paid well most of the mid runners and below actually pay for there own drive

Posted by patty on 21 October 2012 at 14:38

its a shame about the jobs but with the way the world f finance is going thee just isn't the money around which is why other companies have already pulled out of this very expensive minority sport

Posted by albert on 19 October 2012 at 09:53

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