Ford returns to tin-tops

In among the cancellations and closures, Ford revealed that it is returning to what fans see as its natural arena: touring car racing. It has signed up to the 2005 World Touring Car series, having shone in the one-off running of this series in '87.

Back then Ford Sierra Cosworths diced with BMW M3s for outright honours, winning the manufacturers' title while BMW driver Roberto Ravaglia claimed the drivers' crown ahead of Ford's Klaus Ludwig and co-driver Klaus Niedzwiedz. Although the series gained strength as the season progressed, it was killed off by the FIA before the year was out as, according to insiders, it was starting to be perceived as a threat to F1.

Now, with the European Touring Car Championship proving increasingly strong, the desire to make it worldwide has proved too strong to resist for the organisers.

Ford has put its name down alongside those of Alfa Romeo, BMW, Peugeot, SEAT and Chevrolet (née Daewoo) to race in the proposed 10-round championship. Eight rounds in Europe will be joined by events in Mexico City and Macau.

Ford will enter a team of its new-look Focuses.