Bertelli would pilot a fourth Puma at the snow rally February 24-27, for what would have been his debut in the WRC’s new Rally1 hybrid machinery.
However, work commitments have forced the Italian to abandon his plans a week after the event. The semi-professional rally driver works in the fashion industry and the event clashes with Milan Fashion Week.
Bertelli competed in two WRC races last year and drove a Ford Fiesta prepared by M-Sport at Arctic Rally Finland and Safari Rally in Kenya.
The 33-year-old has made sporadic appearances in the WRC since 2011, with his best result to date in eighth place in Rally Mexico 2016.
As a result, M-Sport will now apply for three cars for its full-time drivers Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux, all three of whom are eligible for manufacturer points.
Fourmaux will compete in the all-new Puma, which he helped build last week, as the tight turnaround from Monte Carlo to Sweden prevented the British team from rebuilding the car he crashed at last month’s season opener.
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener said it was a shame to drop Bertelli from the roster, but is hopeful he will return at an event later this season.
“He has had some work commitments that have changed with the fashion show in Milan, so he will not be there now,” Millener told Motorsport.com.
“There will be three cars at the event. I hope he comes back in the future but it depends very much on his work schedule.
– There is no big difference for us [running three cars instead of four]it’s just a shame for us, because we would have loved to see him there and to have another semi-professional / private driver in the car would have been great, but sometimes that’s just the way it is. “
The team began its Rally Sweden preparations this week with a pre-event test in Sweden that began on Monday.