Shortly before the South African GP, Longines announced that it was withdrawing as F1’s official timekeeper. Like Mercedes-Benz, a couple of months beforehand, it cited ecological reasons for its decision.
We wonder how many other companies might follow suit? The adverse PR could have quite an affect on our sport, which needs to act swiftly before it becomes subject to law enforcement by politicians rather than FISA.
A positive first step would be to regulate the development of fuel. In Kyalami, the refuelling crews at Benetton and Footwork wore full gas masks whenever the time came to open a churn of qualifying brew.
Motor racing can well do without unedifying spectacles of this nature, which do little to promote a clean, caring image. Current F1 fuel may be unleaded, but clearly contains other substances a good deal more noxious. If other companies follow the lead of Mercedes-Benz and Longines, we should hardly be surprised.