Teams must learn says Mahonen
FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen has no concerns about the potential impact of Volkswagen’s departure from the World Rally Championship.
Mahonen described the loss of the four-time world champions as a ‘big hit’ but added that he hoped some of the remaining and inbound manufacturers would learn from the way Volkswagen used its WRC programme.
Volkswagen wrapped an allencompassing marketing effort around its world championship commitment, setting previously unmatched standards for fan interaction.
Mahonen applauded the German manufacturer as much for that as for its sporting successes.
“It [Volkswagen’s departure] feels bigger than it was,” said Mahonen. “Of course it’s a big hit, but I have no fear for the championship. We have Toyota and Citroen coming back and I just hope they follow [Volkswagen’s lead] in putting the effort on marketing. They showed the others how it should be done when they make the investment they made sure they did everything they could to get everything out of their investment – they have been like a book from the university showing us how the marketing should be done.
“Twenty years ago, it was people inside the manufacturers who had the passion that made the firms compete in the WRC, but now the money comes from the marketing department and it has to be justified.”