Toyota Gazoo Racing will begin talks to extend Sébastien Ogier’s stay in the World Rally Championship this week – with team principal Tommi Mäkinen making it clear he wants the Frenchman in a Yaris WRC in 2021.
Ogier had planned to retire from the WRC at the end of 2020, but the six-time champion has already admitted this year’s coronavirus-ravaged season isn’t really how he wants to bow out.
Mäkinen will begin discussions with Ogier during the squad’s week of testing this week.
“Of course, this decision is not only for me,” the Finn told DirtFish, “we have to talk to people, but I am really looking forward to the chance to talk to Séb this week. If you ask to me, I will have a seat for him in the car [next year].”
Mäkinen is hoping the last three months have made Ogier miss his time at the top of rallying.
“When I stopped competing,” said Mäkinen, “I definitely felt after one year that I had stopped too early. Maybe Séb is already having these kinds of feelings! Let’s see. Maybe he has had some time away and now he’s ready for more time in rallying.”
Discussing his future with DirtFish last month, Ogier said: “Of course, I never expected to have such a year to finish my career. Let’s see what’s happening this year, but if the season is to be cut in half or whatever, for sure I might consider to do one more.
“At the moment, there is nothing [in place]. I just announced that personally, but really I honestly haven’t discussed that with the team. It’s just my personal feeling at the moment. There is no real plan, but for sure if this season is cut in half I might reconsider that, yes.”
Toyota’s other two drivers Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä both have two-year deals with TGR.