Sebastien Ogier has spoken exclusively to Autosport to explain his decision to leave Citroen’s World Rally Championship team with a year to run on his contract.
Citroen’s cited Ogier’s departure for Toyota – a deal expected to be announced next week – as the reason for its withdrawal from the WRC in an announcement made on Wednesday.
The six-time champion admitted he was surprised at the wording of Citroen’s communication, but refused to comment on speculation that he first read the press release on the internet.
Ogier told Autosport: “Maybe communication hasn’t always been the strongest point for Citroen…”
He was also concerned about the message Citroen had sent to other competitors in the WRC, adding: “When they say there is no other drivers available, in this moment, I feel this is disrespectful for my colleagues in the sport.”
Talking specifically about why he was leaving his second stint with Citroen early, Ogier said: “One of the main things which drove this decision was the rhythm of development on the car and the speed the car was progressing, which was not enough.
“Already this year, we could agree there wasn’t enough development coming and we were down in performance against our competitors and it’s not just me saying that – it’s anybody who drove this car, I think, is feeling the same way.”
Despite his departure and the nature of Citroen’s announcement, Ogier said he had no regrets about returning to the team where he started his professional career.
“I was aware since I joined the team about the difficulty of this challenge and I was never afraid of this,” he said.
“That’s why, even today, I have absolutely no regrets to try this challenge, even if it failed.”
As previously outlined on Autosport, Ogier will be revealed as a Toyota WRC driver alongside Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera on Monday.
Ogier declined to comment on his plans for 2020.