The sensational news that British rally star Kris Meeke is to be dropped from the Mini team he joined barely a year ago for the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally next month will doubtless be billed as a matter of financial strictures within Prodrive, the Banbury-based team that builds and runs the cars.

Whatever the truth, the episode promises to reflect very badly indeed on BMW, a company which talks a great deal about being internationalist in outlook — and is more than content to earn richly from all points of the compass — but remains cloyingly German when the chips are down.

While the promising Mini WRC team, which exceeded all expectations (including BMW’s) in its debut season, struggles to keep its head above water, BMW is spending an estimated 20 times more on a programme in the German DTM touring car series which, even if successful against Audi and Mercedes, will have zero impact on the brand’s value or strength outside German borders.