A clearly frustrated Hayden Paddon returns to the World Rally Championship this week with his long-term future still up in the air.

The Kiwi driver is back with the factory Hyundai team for Rally Great Britain on Friday having been dropped for Rally Spain last month.

The 30-year-old is under contract with the team for next season but Hyundai has four drivers contracted to drive three cars, leaving Paddon and other team members wondering about their future.

"I have got to be realistic - it is going to be a difficult rally for us," Paddon told The Herald. "There are two sides - there is one side of me that wants to prove a point and go out and really chase a good result but at the same time, especially at this level, everything has to be right and that includes the spirit and the environment within the team and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that I am not the most happy with the current situation.


"I just have to get into the car at the start of the rally and try and do what comes natural and be patient in the meantime."

It is clear all is not well within the Hyundai team. The Korean manufacturer expected to challenge for both the constructors' title and the drivers' title this year but is all but assured of missing both.

They signed former Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen three quarters of the way through the season, which created a logjam of drivers. Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Paddon all have contracts with the team for 2018.

Speculation has linked Sordo and Paddon to share a car with Sordo contesting the tarmac events and Paddon the gravel ones but the Kiwi insisted nothing had been conveyed to the drivers.

"All I know at this stage is that we have a contract for next year and it is pretty clear what is in that contract - other than that I'm not sure about the future at the moment."

There remains a small chance he could leave - Toyota are set with their driver line-up next year and Citroen appear close to landing both four-time world champion Sebastien Ogier and could entice nine-time champ Sebastien Loeb out of retirement. That would leave M-Sport Ford as the most likely destination if a move was to happen.

"I'd like to be loyal to the brand," Paddon said. "I think we have been very loyal and trusting to the brand for a period of time now - not just what we are doing in New Zealand but around the world as well and that is something I would like to continue to build."

While that could take weeks to sort out Paddon is looking forward to getting behind the wheel again.

"I guess I don't like to look at it as a return to WRC - we should have been doing the full season," he said. "Unfortunately it felt like a long time out of the car so that is something that will be a little bit of a challenge to overcome at the beginning of the rally.

"At the end of the day it is like riding a bicycle - it is what I love doing - and I am just looking forward to getting back in the car and back in the competition."