Hyundai is already looking forward to 2023, with deputy team principal Julian Monsett confirming to Motorsport.com that the team was assessing its options for next year ahead of last weekend’s 1-2-3 at the Acropolis Rally of Greece.
Although Tanak has a contract with Hyundai for next year, speculation about his future in the process has gained momentum despite Estonian wins in Sardinia, Finland and Belgium this season.
Tanak was not shy about showing his frustration with his devices, which on several occasions were unreliable, and the team’s internal organization. Speaking after the win in Belgium, he openly stated that he did not believe Monsett was the right candidate to secure the lead role for the vacant team.
The 2019 world champion got frustrated again in Greece after that Hyundai Motorsport President Chun Kim told its drivers to take up positions to protect the platform’s closure. Tanak, Hyundai’s top choice to enter the Cali Rovanpera Toyota in the Drivers’ Championship, thus taking second place behind Neuville.
When asked if he will drive for Hyundai next year following the team orders decision, Tanak gave his response “We’ll see next year.”
When asked about Tanak’s future in Belgium last month, Monsett said he expected Tanak to stay with the team before saying, “I don’t make contracts. But I say this, even if a driver has a contract, he can leave, just like in football.”
Ott Tanak, Martin Garfuga, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
While aware of Tanak’s frustration with the team’s order decision in Greece, when asked if he expects the driver to stay with the team next year, Monsett told Motorsport.com: “We have contact with him and will discuss it with him about the future. As we do with all our drivers. That’s normal. .
“Obviously, when the 2023 driver lineup is official, we will announce it in due course.”
When pressed regarding Solberg’s future in the team next season, Monsett replied: “We’re looking at all options for next year and I can’t tell you much more than that.”
If Tanak chooses to leave Hyundai, the M-Sport has emerged as his best option, with Toyota expected to offer an unchanged driver lineup for next year.
Tanak has a previous history with the Ford team, making his WRC debut with the team in 2011 and finishing third in the 2017 standings before joining Toyota at the end of the season.
Tanak touched on service park gossip linking him to a return to M-Sport, calling it purely “rumour” following his win in Belgium.
However, M-Sport is in the market for an experienced driver to join its ranks for next season along with Craig BrinHe will enter the second year of his contract with the team in 2023.
Outside of Brienne, the 2023 squad remains an “open book” according to team boss Malcolm Wilson.
Wilson told Motorsport.com in Belgium that it is a priority to secure another top driver for 2023.
“There’s no doubt, for me being in the game for a long time, I have to say my priority is to try and find a great driver,” Wilson said.
“We don’t have specific plans for next year, so it’s an entirely open book.”