Blog: What next for Hyundai after Tanak's and Solberg's departures?

For the most world, the departure of Ott Tanak and Oliver Solberg from Hyundai Motorsport were very shocking moves, but let's see what the Koreanas should have been done differently before discussing the future of the team.

In case of Tanak, everyone was expecting that he would terminate his contract prematurely after what happened with him and Thierry Neuville and the people in charge of Hyundai. To sacrifice one of your best drovers on the line-up with the view of favoring a driver who is not a WRC Champion yet and was far away from the title fight is a very risky decision and nobody can forget what happened in Greece one month ago. In addition to that, Hyundai failed to give a reliable car to the Estonian this year who gave everything in every single rally taking the first ever victory for the team in Finland. Do not forget that Tanak's car is suffering hybrid issues most of the time in comparison with his teammates and Julien Moncet said during Rally Spain that this was indeed very strange. Apart from his relationship with the team and Moncet, Neuville did not hesitate to doubt about Tanak's problems in Belgium which was very reasonable to make the last one be bothered. On the other hand, the Alzenau team announced that Solberg will not continue with them in 2023 after his not delivering good results for them this season. 2022 was the rookie season for the youngster who secured a partial programme at the end of 2021, therefore it is very logical for him to make mistakes. For instance, the 2022 WRC Champion Kalle Rovanpera made many mistakes on the first half of 2021 and he was on his second season with Toyota, so why Solberg cannot make mistakes and should have been thrown away? Instead of investing in his talent, the team preferred to put an end to their collaboration and to have two available seats for 2023. After these two departures, which drivers can the Koreans sign for next season?

The obvious choice is Dani Sordo who is under contract with Hyundai for many years, but the Spaniard is a part-timer the last seasons while it is still unknown if he will continue in World Rally Championship as he said that he would make the decision for his future after Rally Spain. Elfyn Evans is another option as his contract with Toyota expires at the end of this uear and it is obvious that Rovanpera has overshadowed him after what he achieved in New Zealand earlier this month. Esapekka Lappi is also a candidate for the i20N seat as he is interested in doing a full-season. Looking out of the WRC grid, the reigning WRC2 Champion Andreas Mikkelsen wants so much to return to the top level and do not forget that he was a Hyundai driver for two years. Hayden Paddon is very loyal to the Koreans as he has the support of Hyundai NZ since the start of his rallying career and was one of the drivers who helped Hyundai when the brand rejoined WRC. Another WRC2 driver is Teemu Suninen who has currently a contract with Hyundai Motorsport N, has been involved in the development of i20N Rally2 and replaced Tanak at last year's Rally Monza. Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg are other two drivers who remained outside the WRC for many years, but both of them helped Skoda and Citroen respectively to develop their Rally2 cars. Finally, the most unpredictable option is Craig Breen who has yet to deliver good results for M-Sport Ford who is the #1 driver for Malcolm Wilson's team. TheNothern Irish took part in snow and fast gravel rallies with the i20 Coupe WRC and signed a two-year deal with M-Sport Ford before the start of 2022 with his contract being expected to expire at the end of 2023 except if Hyundai reaches an agreement with its rival team to exchange drivers for the next season (Tanak to move at M-Sport Ford and Breen to return in Hyundai).

Hyundai Motorsport is looking to secure experienced and consistent drivers for 2023, but the team lost one of the most valuable drivers in WRC grid and for sure Ott Tanak's exit will be very huge loss for them. Moreover, the team shows that they do not have time and intention to invest in young talents such as Oliver Solberg, but in both cases, Hyundai has given a bad impression to the WRC supporters for how they handle things and seems to be untrustworthy in their decisions.

Photo Credits: Hyundai

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