Unless you have been walking around with your eyes closed, and your head encased in a block of concrete, with a blindfold around it, in the dark – unless you have been doing that, you surely can’t have failed to notice that the Olympic Games is currently taking place in London.
As is customary with the arrival of a new edition of the world’s foremost sports competition, it has led to suggestions that motorsport should feature on the Olympic programme. Call me a killjoy, but I think that it is a preposterous idea.
I admit that I am quite a purist and prefer to see sports that don’t require complicated equipment. I believe that an athlete’s performance should be the key criteria in deciding the result of any sporting event and, if motor racing was introduced – especially Formula 1 – there would be an emphasis on machinery that isn’t present in other categories.
Yes, there are many sports that have a dependency on the equipment used – not least sailing and cycling – but, with the threat of expulsion lingering in the air, technological developments in these have been reigned in recently to try and create a more level playing field. These sports are still overwhelmingly about physical prowess, with an element of technique and skill thrown in for good measure.
The whole idea behind the Olympics is that the world can come together and compete in a sports arena. If we consider F1 – as seems to be the case at the moment – how many nations would compete in it? How many could possibly compete in it? In both cases it would be a tiny amount of the most affluent countries in the world, which isn’t exactly consistent with the Olympic ideal.
To counteract this argument, you could suggest that rather than focusing on the pinnacle of motorsport we look at karting as a serious alternative instead. And why not?
Karting has a large competitor base, is suitable for both genders, is something the public can relate to, and is perhaps the only form of motor racing that you have any real chance of making fair – if you’re able to restrict any influential tuning to the kart, that is.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle of all, however, would be the misconception held by many that the car does the majority of the work and, therefore, any motorsport event would struggle to be taken seriously by the wider population. Chances are it would also be seen as small competition by those competing, and possibly too much of a distraction to warrant their participation.
No, actually the biggest obstacle in all this is the ruling which states that only “disciplines except those for which performance depends essentially on mechanical propulsion” are deemed worthy of inclusion within the Olympic Games.
Until that changes – just after a few stars have formed and life has evolved – we should be grateful that there are a plethora of motor racing championships out there for us to enjoy – year in, year out.
I don’t see the benefit any four-wheel category joining the Olympics would bring, other than it not feeling left out for a fortnight every four years. Especially when something like F1 is already one of the most followed annual championships for the rest of the time anyway.
Desperate for some international crossover between motorsport disciplines? There’s always the Race of Champions.