Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson paid tribute to the Blue Oval's commitment to the World Rally Championship after its last rally in Spain.
Ford announced last month that it would quit the series as title sponsor of the M-Sport run team, ending a 16-year association with the Cumbrian firm.
Jari-Matti Latvala, second on the Spanish event and third in the drivers' championship, also leaves to join Volkswagen for next year.
"16 unbroken years is pretty incredible," said Wilson. "And I have to say a very big thank you to them.
"Of course it's an emotional time, not just because of Ford's decision, but also because Jari-Matti [Latvala] is moving on.
"But nothing stands still. M-Sport has an exciting future ahead and we have to focus on that right now."
Ford's Gerard Quinn added: "We will continue to support M-Sport technically, of course, and drivers of Ford rally cars around the world.
"And who's to say that, in the future, Ford won't step back into the World Rally Championship again.
"It's been a very emotional weekend and I, personally, take a whole load of memories away with me."
Ford won two world titles - in 2006 and 2007 - with M-Sport.