The Future of Motorsport?
We were counting down the days to the 4th July when motorsport returned. It did so in a slightly different form, with a reduced number of events, and more strikingly, behind closed doors. The lack of spectators isn’t the only change that has emerged as a result of the financial implications of lockdown. We believe that there are other non-direct areas which will also see changes in the coming months. So what is the future outlook for motorsport?
The most obvious impact on motorsport is financial, with F1 providing the most visible impacts. Renault are in the midst of making $2 billion worth of cuts over the coming years. This is as the impact of the reduction in consumer demand for road cars is felt but the company has committed to remain in F1, for the time being. However, if there is not an increase in the number of points scored there must come a point at which participation in motorsport becomes increasingly difficult if the group is underperforming.
Teams withdrawing from motorsport due to wider financial constraints are not new. Honda and Toyota both withdrew from F1 in 2008 and 2009 and as these teams bowed out they made slots available for the privateers in the form of Brawn GP and Sauber. If the financial ramifications of the coronavirus cut deeper than expected, we could see new teams enter the sport who could disrupt the current status quo.
Renault’s decision to continue in F1 was in part due to the introduction of the new $145m budget limit. They hope this will make the team more competitive. The limit has been reduced in light of the suspension of motorsport from the previously agreed level of $175m.
Whilst ROKit are no longer sponsoring Williams, they are continuing to support an element of the motorsport industry – esports. Prior to lockdown the thought of watching others playing a video game probably seemed alien. With the lack of any other sort of motorsport, esports has quickly grown in prominence with a raft of current drivers competing in a variety of championships.
A Legends Trophy was launched by Torque Esports, sponsored by ROKit, and included drivers such as Jenson Button, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya. Some esports events have been reported as having more viewers than F1 races.
In the US Nascar launched the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series which was televised and enabled the series to reach 900,000 new viewers. If other championships were able to make similar gains it could be transformative for those seeking to expand viewership. Especially amongst younger fans who have traditionally been harder to engage with.
Esports has been slow to gain traction but it seems as though the strides made during lockdown. Will this have caused long term changes to behaviours that will be long lasting? That will be clear in the future!
Whatever may happen, the passion and enthusiasm for motorsport hasn’t disappeared. Like many areas of life at the moment a new normal for motorsport may emerge. We can’t wait to get back on track, hopefully in early July with Equipe Classic Racing.
We want to help to stay on track so if you require finance for race cars, transporters, or equipment, please get in touch with a member of our motorsport team.