Ford Rallye Sport, upset by the FIA's decision to increase the WRC calendar to 16 rounds in 2004, has yet to announce whether it will compete in next year's season.

Ford Rallye Sport, upset by the FIA's decision to increase the WRC calendar to 16 rounds in 2004, has yet to announce whether it will compete in next year's season.


Team boss Malcolm Wilson said it was not clear which way the cash-strapped squad's decision could go, although he added that every effort had been made to arrive at the right decision.


"We've been down every avenue and looked at every solution," he said, "but we will know soon.


"From Mexico (the first event of next year's calendar) onwards we can make a plan on the recce and the flex-service side of things. Hopefully we will be taking less people, we won't be taking recce cars around the world, so there are cost savings there, which we appreciate. Sadly it doesn't come anywhere near to the costs of two extra events - especially in Mexico and Japan."


WRC insiders believe that Ford will stay, because the manufacturer has already made huge investment in an effort to maintain the Focus RS WRC's competitiveness, particularly at M-Sport.


"We have to stay at the sharp end of technology," Wilson added. "That's where the performance gains are and that's why we've put so much effort into these facilities. We need to go to every rally with the knowledge that we can win and push the performance envelope as far as we can."