Ford unmoved on future as passion rises

Gordon Lomas

Saturday 11th October, 2014 - 9:00pm

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Bob Graziano talks with FPR part-owner Rod Nash

Bob Graziano talks with FPR part-owner Rod Nash

Ford Australia president Bob Graziano remains stoic over the blue oval’s future motorsport in V8 Supercars as fans rally together in a unified front.

Graziano spent time in the Ford Performance Racing garage at Bathurst today as discussions between the two parties continue.

While Graziano was non-committal on the nature of the talks, he admitted Ford was facing a big year in 2015 with new product.

Any formal dialogue on future plans won’t take place until after the end of the season, according to the Ford chief.

“I’ve said before that we are not going to talk about what we do going forward until after the season is over and nothing has changed in that regard either,” Graziano told Speedcafe.com

“We are really pleased the teams are homologating the vehicles and we will continue to work with them in that regard.

“We’re here to support Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) getting a back-to-back. It’s a long day tomorrow but I have every confidence in the team.”

Graziano expressed some surprise when he was made aware of a petition in support of Ford remaining in motorsport, which has received over 7,000 signatures in its opening hours.

“My first race was at Clipsal in 2011 and I’ve seen the passion of the fans,” Graziano acknowledged.

“It’s a great sport and you’ve got to love that passion.

“I cut my teeth in this industry in the US with the Chevy/Ford rivalry out there and you see the same thing here with Holden and Ford.

“I get that and we’ve got new players in the sport which I think is also good for the sport.”

Graziano, however, would not let his guard down when it was suggested how he would feel if he was remembered as the person who killed off Ford’s involvement in motor racing in Australia.

“Again you are getting into the speculation which I said I’m not going to comment on.

“You just can’t respond to it so that’s where I’m at.”

“Any discussions we have with the team are with them and ourselves and that is not something I’m not prepared to talk about publicly.”

Graziano, however, admitted that Bathurst was a ‘natural’ environment for the company to show off its production XR8 FG X models this weekend.

“I think it’s a natural opportunity to bring a vehicle like that to the audience that I think could resonate with very well,” he said.

“We showed the vehicle for the first time last week publicly.

“It’s just a natural fit in this environment.”

Graziano refused to expand on Ford’s involvement with the FG X V8 Supercar program, which is understood to currently consist of assistance with computer design files and original equipment parts, but not financial support.