SANCTIONS AND GRAND PRIX RACING

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SANCTIONS AND GRAND PRIX RACING

The Italo-Abyssinian conflict—or should we say the difference of opinion between Italy and the League, as such—bids fair to jeopardise, among other things, the future of Grand Prix racing. Already Italy has cancelled certain sporting engagements with Sanction1st countries, and it is only logical to assume that a similar attitude will be adopted in regard to motorracing.

But even if this should prove to be incorrect, there are still further grounds for profound disquietude. Italy’s position next summer, as the policy of cumulative sanctions drags to its inevitably disastrous climax, will certainly not permit a dissipation of the expense, material and personnel required for motorracing. The oil embargo alone would prevent Italian teams and drivers from competing.

In spite of the fact that trials of the new AlfaRomeo cars are being continued, then, Italy is a doubtful, starter in the 1936 Grand Prix season. With France an almost negligible quantity, unless Bug-atti springs an unexpected surprise, this leaves

Germany alone in the field. It is useless pretending to ourselves that the German Government and .the Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union factories would be so philanthropic as to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds in running teams of cars in Grand Prix races all over Europe in order to gain empty victories at the expense of independent drivers. Result, Wholesale cancellation of races, leaving a few to be contested by independents. It is possible, of course, that the gradual weakening and final collapse of Italy will have such a dire effect on the Political and economical situation in Europe that no one Will have time for unimpor

tant things like racing cars, in which case Grand Prix racing—and all motor-racing—will disappear entirely until peace returns. If ever.

Politics are normally beyond the scope of this journal, but not when the sport of motor-racing is threatened. We cannot be accused of concerning ourselves with trifles, for motor-racing is essentially a peace-time sport, and we presume that peace is what most people want.

Let it be said, then, that we wish we could see the end of the present crisis, as clearly as our Foreign Ministers apparently see it. No responsible individual or party normally pursues a set course in the solution of a problem without some idea as to where that course will take them. In this case the British Government has insisted on upholding a Covenant, which was intended by its sponsors to be world-embracing, but which in actual fact is only supported by three out of the seven Great Powers. As an addl.tional hazard, the Government does *so with the knowledge that its Air Force ranks fifth in strength among the nations of the world. Even supposing that sanctions succeed in bringing Italy to her knees, the prospect is distinctly disturbing. A ruined nation in Europe presents a delicate problem, especially when tension is at its height, while the resulting conceit of the Abyssinian Emperor will produce a dangerous relation between the white and black races, a relation which must necessarily be friendly if the welfare of the British Empire

is to continue. There is one hope. The Italians admit that they cannot hold for longer than six or eight weeks if America enforces an oil embargo. Capitulation at an early, stage may m:.ke it possible to patch

up a settlement.

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