2009, a quiet year for motorsport

The casualties so far:

Suzuki and Subaru have pulled out of the World Rally Championship, leaving just Ford and Citroen for 2009 season

Honda has pulled out of Formula 1, and Max Mosely has proposed a raft of cost-cutting measures (BBC Sport – The Battle to Save Formula One).

Jaguar has been in  discussion with the British government looking for state aid (BBC News – Government confirms Jaguar talks) but don’t worry it has been overseen by Business Secretary Lord (Peter) Mandelson and he’s never had any problems with cah donations!  Even George Bush has stated that he will not allow a disorderly collapse of the US car industry (BBC News – No ‘disorderly’ US Car Collapse).  Yes, in his last 32 days of power any collapse will be very orderly and well organised.  Somehow Bush’s statement doesn’t fill me with cheer!

Of course we’ve also got Berni Ecclestone announcing he wants to change how the drivers championship is scored in Formula 1, replacing points with medals, but will that matter as more and more teams have to pull out to cut costs, and when the sponsorship dries up as all the investment banks battle to stay afloat.

I’m quietly optomistic.  The next few years will be very hard on motorsport, but I think it will bounce back better than ever.  Looking back over the years I’ve watched racing and the highlights for me were in the slow growth years immediately after hard times.  The early 80’s, the early 90’s.  In recent years the sport has become too fat at the highest levels, with F1 being endlessly manipulated for money by it’s Machiavellian management. A1GP failed to make a huge impression on the global media, but could become more of a shining light since it is insulated from some of the development and money issues of F1.  Best of all the more grass-roots levels of racing will gain in popularity as people look for a budget racing experience.  The important, but under invested, classes like touring car and karting will hopefully gain from the loss of the upper eschelons and in three to five years time this grass roots investment will pay dividends.  All we’ve got to do is wait!

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