Blog: Why Breen lacks of performance in 2022?

The #1 driver of M-Sport Ford, Craig Breen, does not get the results that the team wants in 2022 and, in this blog, we will examine some possible reasons behind his lack of performance.

To begin with, 2022 is the first year for the Irishman that he will compete in all rounds of World Rally Championship. Even when he was in Citroen, he had never done a full season as he was sharing the C3 WRC with another driver, like with Sebastien Loeb in 2018. Due to the fact that he did not manage to secure a full contract with a WRC team after his departure from Citroen at the end of 2018, he participated in a limited number of events with Hyundai Motorsport at the top level from 2019 to 2021 which means that he has no experience in some races, such as Safari Rally Kenya, or is less experienced than his rivals as many events included some new stages to their itineraries this year. 

But the most important is that Breen became a leading driver of a team this year for the first time in his career which may be a very stressful situation for him, because he has to prove that he deserves this seat. Although he started his season in a positive way after securing a podium in Monte Carlo, he has only one more podium finish (Sardinia) while he has retired four times during an event (Sweden, Kenya, Estonia, Finland) so far after making mistakes which had an impact to his Puma. Thanks to his mechanics, he was able to restart under the regulations of Rally2 and to score some points for the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ championship. In addition to these mistakes, there were many times that he did not feel comfortable with his car and complained about it, but it is not only Breen’s fault as M-Sport Ford does not schedule tests for all the events. For instance, the team from Cumbria gave the opportunity to its drivers to test for Estonia, but not for Finland. These two events are very similar, but obviously are not the same, therefore it was important for the drivers to have made some new adjustments to their car for last weekend’s race. Last but not least, it is not that Puma does not have the speed to be a competitive car as Loeb has won many stages this year and an event (Rallye Monte Carlo), but it seems that Breen is not able to find the limits of the car or how to handle hybrid boost and to lead a race.

To conclude with, Craig Breen’s lack of performance may be not only his fault, but M-Sport’s as well. His two-year contract with the team and the #1 status may be a very high-pressure situation for him to deal with, but at the same time the test limitation may have an impact to his performance for not getting the maximum from his car. May M-Sport Ford have been in a hurry to secure a better driver for 2022, may Breen have been not ready to become a leading driver for a team or is it a combination of these two? Only time will tell!

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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