It’s one week until Rally Sweden and Autosport brings word that the BMW Group is expected to terminate its contract with Prodrive later today. This news brings the future of the MINI WRC program into question.
A BMW Group source has allegedly revealed, “There was a chance this might have happened last year, but in the end it was decided to wait until after Monte Carlo. The decision has now been taken at board level and will be communicated in due course.”
When contacted by Autosport, Richard Taylor from Prodrive claimed, “That’s news to me. There’s no question of that, no question at all. The team is on its way to Sweden for the pre-event test as we speak. MINI remains committed to the programme and to supporting customers.
“We all want to see the MINI John Cooper Works WRC out there on the stages and that’s what we will see with Prodrive running the cars on Rally Sweden next week.”
You’ll recall Kris Meeke is currently on the sidelines after the team didn’t have the funding to keep him on a full-time basis. His seat is being sold to teh highest bidder on a race-by-race basis.
The unease of the BMW–Prodrive relationship is now becoming clearer and it’s understood finances have been central to those difficulties almost since the relationship began.
It’s believed BMW is now deciding if it should hand over the running of the team to another firm, with an Italian group supposedly in the frame, or quit the WRC altogether.