Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has revealed the Japanese company's higher-ups influenced his decision to pick Ott Tanak over Sebastien Ogier for his team next season.
Makinen told Motorsport.com the Estonian’s age gave him greater longevity – Tanak is four years younger than Ogier – but he added that senior officials at Toyota Motor Corporation had also opted for the younger driver.
Ogier tested the Yaris WRC at the end of 2016, but elected to go to M-Sport. The five-time champion was never truly in contention for a 2018 seat with Toyota.
Makinen said: “I know that Ott doesn’t have the massive victories and I would say that this keeps him more hungry further into the future – that is a little bit why Toyota is supporting quite a lot to bring new and younger drivers, this is their philosophy.
“[Sebastien] Ogier is still there and he could keep driving for some years. We know his experience and what he has done is far more than Ott and we know that Sebastien could be the safest choice, but we have to listen to the way Japan is seeing the world.
"I am happy with the driver line-up we have for next season.”
Ogier is expected to make a final decision between retirement and remaining with the M-Sport World Rally Team, with whom he scored a fifth straight world title this season.
Citroen closed the door on negotiations earlier this month, with team principal Yves Matton telling Motorsport.com: “We were not able to follow the offers he received,” said Matton. “We made an offer, but it was not at the right level.”