I don’t think its too outlandish to say its because of Ogier’s departure.
There may have been a possibility of Citroen remaining in WRC if they had managed to convince a top driver to take a seat.
But as it was, Citroen were unable to convince any notable drivers to stay or join, and that was the final nail in the coffin.
After all, without a top driver, you lack someone who can get most out of the car, lack feedback for development, lack someone for the team to get behind (less moral), and lack the clout when trying to lure sponsors.
As for how they got into this position. It looks like management is the cause. Despite a promising car there were some decisions that seemed odd.
Not taking advantage of VW’s exit, when you had the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen dropping to WRC2.
As for having Kris Meeke as the #1 driver… I really like the guy. I get he was part of the car’s development. And he’s fast. But… he’s not someone I’d put all my hopes on.
While someone who pushes all the time is great to watch; there are drivers who are just as fast, but with more composure, and finish rallies. And with that, I don’t think Kris needed the added weight of a manufacturer on his shoulders.
Then throughout the season, the continued swapping round of drivers made the team look like they were scrambling around.
Meanwhile Toyota appeared to enter with a far more stable footing. And had continued on to taking championships.
Citroen were unable to capitalize on VW’s exit, when others did. And now Hyundai/Toyota are the targets for drivers wanting to compete at the top. Leaving Citroen with the scraps. And that’s probably not how Citroen wants their team to be seen.
They’d be entering their 5th season, a point where they needed to be aiming for championships, and as it stood, that wasn’t possible. And with nothing on the horizon to signify any major change for them, they decided to leave, rather than just enter to make up the numbers.