Any time I’ve ever had a big breakup, I usually just cut off all my hair, dye it a new color, and buy a spicy new wardrobe. That’s why I truly relate to Citroën’s decision to completely leave the World Rally Championship after its driver and six-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier opted to leave them for Toyota. When in doubt, make very drastic decisions that place all the blame for relationship faults on the other person involved!
Seriously. Read this tweet and ignore all the motorsport specifics. It pretty much sounds like it could have come from a dramatic teen in the throes of their first dramatic breakup:
In some senses, it’s understandable. It costs a hell of a lot of money to fund a racing program, and it’s mostly only worth it if you’re actually going to go out and win stuff.
But on the other hand, this announcement blows for any driver still trying to secure a seat for 2020. For Esapekka Lappi, Ogier’s Citroën teammate, that’s especially bad. Lappi had one year left to run on his Citroën contract, Motorsport.com reports. Now, he’s without a seat, and the pickings for next year are already slim. The only full-time seat left is the one vacated by Elfyn Evans at Ford after Evans made his own move to join Toyota—making him teammates with Ogier next year.
Citroën has been a driving force in WRC for years. After its full-time arrival in WRC in 2001, it has taken home countless championships for both constructor and driver, including all nine of legend Sébastien Loeb’s titles. This isn’t like some tiny backmarker folding—this is more like if Mercedes just called it quits in Formula One just because Lewis Hamilton retired, or if the New England Patriots folded because Tom Brady decided to do something else with his life.
While the true effects of Citroën’s departure likely won’t be known until the 2020 season gets underway, it’s obvious that rallying will be a more unfortunate place without it.