F1Fanatic guest writer Ben Evans pushes the case for motor racing to be part of the 2012 London Olympics.
Every four years at some point during the Olympics the debate rumbles around – why is motorsport not included? Usually this is dismissed out of hand – the Olympics is a battle of man not machine, it favours minority sports not the mainstream sports we usually follow.
However I believe that there are good reasons for motorsport to be included in the Olympics. Firstly top race drivers are as talented in their field as many of those competing and that equally most drivers (Paul Tracy excepted) are a great deal more athletic than most Olympic competitors.
OK, but isn’t motorsport all about the equipment and not the driver?
Yes in most levels of motorsport it is, which is why a driver-centric Olympic tournament would be fantastic. Likewise, I would argue that many Olympic sports are reliant on the competitors equipment in much the same way. Equestrian events are all about horsepower, cycling is partly won by the bike, sailing is essential one make racing on water. In short, to exclude motorsport from the Olympics on the basis that is about machine rather than driver is a poor argument.
Yes, we could quibble over the IOC would ever allow motor racing into the Olympics (of course they won’t it’s even written in their rules somwhere). Or we could figure out how a motor racing Olympics event might work, which is much more fun.
For motorsport to be included in the Olympics it would have to be proven beyond all doubt that the machinery is equal. Anyone who have ever raced in an arrive-and-drive or one make series will know this is nigh-on impossible to verify.
Luckily I have a solution. Now, much as I would love to see a knock out competition in Formula Fords a la Formula Ford Festival, it’s not practical because some drivers would be better suited to the car.
It is for that reason that the format for the Olympic Motorsport Event – to be run at Brands Hatch in 2012, is as follows:
Four race events on successive days. Each event, depending on entries, is on a knock-out heats and finals basis:
Event 1 – Formula Ford – Single seaters with no aerodynamic grip, a battle of ability in the finest ‘racing’ cars ever built. I would say that the latest Mygale chassis should suit nicely.
Event 2 – Renault Clios – Low grip, low power, a real challenge for the top drivers to gain the advantage and it should produce some great racing
Event 3 – Formula Three – Single seaters, big on grip, slicks and wings racing. Unlikely to produce a great race but will bring driver technical ability to the fore
Event 4 – Ginetta G50 – Big hairy sportscars, again it will be set-up and technical skills rather than dog fighting which will come to the fore.
How would the drivers be selected? All countries are automatically guaranteed a single entry, however to enter two drivers a country must have one or more driver currently competing at the top of international motorsport – F1, IRL, NASCAR, WTCC and DTM. Why these selections? Well they are the top series, but also those where there are the biggest Olympic stakeholders
And the teams? My picks would be as follows:
UK – Andy Priaulx (hugely diverse) and Anthony Davidson (McLaren not wishing to release Lewis Hamilton, inevitably)
USA – Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart
Germany – Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel
France – Sebastian Bourdais and Sebastien Loeb
Finland – Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen
Australia – Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo
Brazil – Tony Kanaan and Felipe Massa
Japan – Kazuki Nakajima and Sakon Yamomoto
Spain – Fernando Alonso and Andy Soucek
Italy – Jarno Trulli and Valentino Rossi
Norway – Petter Solberg
Russia – Vitali Petrov
Portugal – Pedro Lamy
Poland – Robert Kubica
New Zealand – Scott Dixon and Brendon Hartley
Netherlands – Guido van der Garde
India – Narain Karthikeyan
Czech Republic – Tomas Enge
China – Ho Ping Tung
Canada – Paul Tracy and Robert Wickens
Nominate more motor racing Olympians – or devise your own motor racing Olympic event – in the comments…