Sebastien Ogier says he wants Ford to back the M-Sport World Rally Team next year if he is to stay at the British squad.
Despite this being the Frenchman's first year in a Ford Fiesta WRC, he has won two of the season's seven rallies and has led for all but one round of the championship.
Ogier is keen to further his relationship with the British team, but to do that he wants to see Ford returning to the WRC.
If M-Sport remains a private outfit next year, Ogier will be forced to look elsewhere – and he's already begun talks with rival teams.
The four-time champion told Motorsport.com: "I am thinking about next year now and it's no secret that I want to continue in good conditions.
"I don't say that, right now, the conditions are not good, but I know on the long-term M-Sport alone won't have the resource to continue fighting against the factory teams.
"But, at the same time, I like stability and I would love for Ford to finally agree support us and that we could carry on together.
"If Ford come I think I would stay. Of course, you have to wait and see in what way and on what terms, but if they are coming with the decent support we need to improve some things.
"That would be my option number one, but of course I have started to work on other options. I cannot wait for October or November like last year."
M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson is eager to retain his 2017 driver line-up – especially after Ott Tanak won in Sardinia last weekend and Elfyn Evans came within seven tenths of a second of Argentina victory – but insists he's not in a position to repeat this year without help.
Wilson told Motorsport.com: "Make no mistake, the aim is to keep what we have here for next season. We want to keep the driver line-up we have, that's definitely our number one priority.
"I can understand where Sebastien is coming from and that's why we're working flat out to try to make it happen.
"The ability to keep Seb can come one of two ways: we either find a backer, and that's why we are pushing like hell to find a title sponsor for the team, or it comes from Ford coming back with us and I think we have an awful lot to offer right now.
"Without either of those things happening, it's simply not possible for us to keep him.
"We put an awful lot on the line this year. I went out on a bit of a limb, seeing this as a golden opportunity to put a driver I've always wanted in my car.
"We appreciate the technical support and long-standing relationship with Ford, however, to do it again under the same circumstances would be financially irresponsible for the future of M-Sport."
Asked about the Ford's financial commitment to the WRC, Ford's performance director Dave Pericak said: "People don't realise how involved Ford is already with M-Sport, they've been partner for long time, we helped them develop the new car and we help them technically quite a bit.
"As far as the financials, we don't discuss the financial situation. Let's enjoy what we're doing right, we think we have a plan for this season: we're going to try and go after that championship."