Motor Racing is dying a slow death

The origins of motor racing can be traced back to over a century ago. It’s often said that the men started racing as soon as the second car in the world was made.

Karl Benz made the first car way back in 1885 and as per records an official motor racing took place in 1890s this just shows how eager and excited people were about racing.

With the rise of automobile industry in different regions of the world (America, Europe, Asia, Australia) motor racing gradually became a sport.

Many official motor race have taken place before the WW-II happened. But it was only in 1950 when the first F1 Grand Prix took place in UK.Since 1950s many big car Manufacturers have tried their luck at F1.

Along with F1, many other categories of motor racing started viz. rallying, touring cars, endurance racing. Motor Racing also happened in 2 types i.e. Open Wheel Racing & Closed Wheel Racing.The other thing which differentiated races where the location. Some racing series would happen only in a specific country or a region, whereas some racing series were international.

With a variety of motor racing series available, fans were also happy as they got to Select a particular type of racing which they liked.

Hence more and more Automobile manufacturers started participating in motor racing not only to prove the world how good their company is but also to develop new technologies which could be used in their road cars.

But now in the 21st century the problems which arised are

  • Increasing Fuel Prices
  • Increasing Fuel consumption Rate
  • Expensive Engine Development Cost
  • Higher operational costs
  • High salary of car development driver

So all these factors have added a burden on the Automobile manufacturers racing in motor sports.

The best example we can see is that of Toyota which happened last decade.

The then biggest car maker in world decided to re enter F1 as a full works team. They pumped as much money as they wanted in the R&D for developing a dominant chasis and Engine. They invested over a Billion USD on their Formula 1 Project. But what did they got in return apart from disappointed ? Hardly any podium finishes.

Hence they were forced to quit F1 and seeing the status of the biggest car Manufacturer in the world who also happens to be amongst the Top 10 companies on the Fortune list of top500 companies. No manufacturer dared to enter F1 as a works team.

Now, in the United States of America where there are different motor racing competitions like the NASCAR, INDYCAR the operating cost of each team is very less as compared to F1. Major reason being common chasis and Engine supplier. So each team shells our around $50Mn a year.

Whereas in Formula1, top teams like MERCEDES, Ferrari, McLaren, Redbull have an annual budget of over $300Mn. Major cost being that of engine development.

The other main problem is, low fan turnout at races. Be it at a Formula1 Grand Prix or a WEC race or a DTM race and now by introducing the Halo Protection System by the FIA for F1 in 2018 many fans have expressed their opinions as they all are disappointed with this rule.

Due to costlier tickets and some boring races in F1 for over a decade the fan interaction is decreasing. Even the broadcasting of these events have switched to premium channels. So fans need to shell out more.

Competitions like DTM, BTCC are country specific so turnout is fans are less and hence Automobile Manufacturers can’t market their products to a wide range of people.

Now, with an increasing importance to the Electric batteries and development of some good Electric cars by a silicon valley startup Tesla Motors, Electric Cars became the point of interest and soon the FIA started a new series where cars running of Electric batteries race.

The things which made Formula E stand out from other FIA premium series were

  1. Same Chasis
  2. Same Electric Batteries
  3. Increased fan interaction
  4. Street Circuit Racing
  5. Free Broadcasting

With low operating budget, more fans interactions specially because it happens in the city so fans don’t have to travel more to reach the track which are on the outskirts, various Automobile Manufacturers across the globe saw this as an opportunity to expand their global reach as Formula E is being held in all over the regions of the world.

So Manufacturers like

  • Audi
  • Renault
  • Mahindra
  • Jaguar
  • DS Automobiles participated

Since these Automobile Manufacturers wants to show their prowess in the Electric Vehicles domain also. Showing the fans the capability of their EV and thereby generating a future market for their Electric Road Cars which they would sell in the coming years.

Even business organizations participated as a customer team to earn some money.

F1 teams like McLaren & Williams who also have applied technology business also saw this as an opportunity and participated in it as batteries provider.

Automobile start ups like Faraday Future , Venturi Motors are into the mix

& Now with German Automobile Giants BMW and Mercedes Benz joining the Formula E soon this competition just gets bigger and better.

This implies a gradual decrease in importance being given to the premium motor racing series given by these Automobile Manufacturers and in the next 30-40 years probably the motor racing competition would cease to exist.

This also means that it’s time to embrace the new Electric Cars which doesn’t make sounds (the sound which makes petrolheads go crazy, just can’t imagine how our future would be…) but goes as fast as a gasoline runned car.

– Jwallant Parmar

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