Ford has previewed its 2014 Falcon today, but has still yet to decide if it will sponsor a factory team to race it.
Video imagery of the ‘FH’ Falcon, which is the final version of the famous model before it is killed off along with local manufacturing no later than October 2016, was shown today at a function dubbed ‘Go Further’ at Fox Studios in Sydney.
Among the crowd was Ford Performance Racing boss Tim Edwards, who along with team co-owner Rod Nash has been locked in negotiation with Ford about a renewal of their deal, which expires this year.
“No adds or discussions around V8s today,” Ford Australia president Bob Graziano said. “Today is all about the product portfolios we have. As we go through our strategies longer term with respect to V8s we’ll have more time to talk about that.
“But today is around the new portfolio of products that we will have in our showrooms.”
The 2014 Falcon is predominantly a sheetmetal change, with new fascia, bonnet, guards and rear-end look and is due to go on-sale in the third quarter of 2014.
Today’s event, which included the surprise appearance of Ford’s global boss Alan Mulally, also saw the confirmation of local sale of the next generation Mustang. It launched in the USA in 2014 and is expected on-sale here in 2015.
It will take the place of Falcon as Ford’s V8 rear-wheel drive performance hero.
It is understood that Graziano supports renewing the deal with FPR. However, with the wind up local manufacturing expected to cost Ford hundreds of millions of dollars, every non-essential expenditure is being reviewed.
The renewal of the deal is believed to have both supporters and opponents both locally and at global Ford headquarters in Dearborn.
While presenting a calm outward persona, Nash and Edwards must be getting nervous as the debate drags on within Ford.
“There is not much I can add to what Bob has already said,” Edwards said today. “From our point of view it is a work in progress. We are playing a waiting game and there’s not much point in jumping up and down will have any action or result.”
However, Edwards confirmed the team would race Falcons in 2014 whether it was factory-backed or not.
“It doesn’t impact what we will be racing next year at all. If the wrong outcome happened we would still be racing Falcon in 2014 because it would be too late to change to another manufacturer anyway.”
The loss of factory support will mean a multi-million shortfall in sponsorship and could endanger attempts to re-sign Will Davison and David Reynolds.
Currently running third in the championship ahead of team-mate Mark Winterbottom, Davison has made it clear he is unsettled by the ongoing issues over the Ford deal. Reynolds is keen to re-sign and is hoping to complete the deal in a month.