Be prepared for a new world


A Pole is leading the Formula One World Championship.

BMW has won a Grand Prix.

A black man looks increasingly likely to become President of the United States.

Some of the world’s biggest banks have lost a great deal of money.

A barrel of oil costs more than ever it has.

The paintings, not the music, of Bob Dylan are on show in London.

Times, they are a-changing, and we must all take shelter from the storm. And that includes the sport with which we are all in love.

The planet on which we live is, it seems, on the cusp of some very major changes. By on the cusp, I mean within the next generation. By very major changes, I mean changes of the kind that we may have imagined but which we never thought we would see.

What, you may ask, has all this to do with our sport? The answer is a very great deal. Motor racing has thrived, raced ahead even, on the back of globalisation. And this globalisation has relied, to some degree, on the availability of cheap energy. Motor sport is a voracious consumer of energy, not simply so it may exist, but also by nature of its increasingly international appeal. I am speaking here of the ‘grandee’ championships.

Travel, as one example, is a significant element of a racing team’s budget, as is the cost of transporting freight. I am not referring here just to Grand Prix teams, but to many other global championships.

Watching Peugeot draw inexorably away from Audi in the opening laps of Le Mans, I thought of these two manufacturers attempts to make more sense of the motor racing game. They are powered by diesel and soon there will be many more racing cars powered by either diesel or one of the new bio-fuels.

Next year Grand Prix racing will look, sound and feel very different, as wide-ranging rule changes take effect. Many of these are designed to make the cars greener, more acceptable to environmental pressures. This is the world we are living in and motor racing cannot exist apart from the rest of the world. So, well done F1 for gradually coming to grips with what must be the most expensive year the teams have had for a very long time. Building new cars for the new rules is a huge task but it’s being done for largely the right reasons.
Not everything is changing. The new world is not yet completely upon us.

Some things just never change. Just take a look at who won Les Vingt Quatre heures du Mans. Yup, good old Audi got it right yet again.

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