I think that Formula 1 should be included in the Olympic Games, and I cannot see any real reason that justifies its exclusion. Although it was by no means official, there is no doubt that by wearing decals supporting Team GB, both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button showed that they agree with this.
“Having the Olympics back in the UK is great for Great Britain,” Hamilton said. “I carried the flag on top of the helmet today. I hope that it was visible. I feel that I’ve done my part, as has the team, for the Olympics, even though we’re not in the event.”
But one has to ask why not. At a time when tennis and soccer are both Olympic sports the old ideas of non-professional athletes is just daft. The International Olympic Committee recently voted through the inclusion of golf as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, along with Rugby Sevens, after considering roller sports, karate, softball, baseball and squash.
One cannot argue elitism when one allows dressage to be in the Olympic Games. Have you tried buying a dressage horse recently?
There is no real solid argument either against the use of machinery. Yes, it is true that archery, rifleshooting, bobsleighs, canoes, sailing and rowing boats all feature very exotic machinery but all are powered (or used) by humans. But why are equestrian events allowed when they are powered by horses?
What is the difference between horsepower and horsepower?
It is is hard to say with any real certainty, but legend suggests that chariot racing WAS allowed in the ancient Olympics and there is no argument that there were Olympic motorboat events in 1908.
If popularity is the key, then F1 does fine and yet such ethereal sports as synchronised swimming, BMX and Mountain Biking are included and F1 is not. In the past croquet, polo, tug-of-war and cricket were all Olympic sports. They even had obstacle races in swimming.
It is certainly commercially complicated to do one-off deals for F1 races in the countries that host the Olympics, but why is that even necessary? The 1956 Olympic equestrian events were held in Sweden rather than in Melbourne, because of the Australian quarantine regulations that made it almost impossible to import and export horses. So why could there not have been an Olympic Grand Prix in Budapest last weekend, tied into the Games because of timing, rather than location. The Olympic GP tag could be like the old European GP title, that was used as an honorific moniker for national events back in the 1920s and 1930s.
I don’t go for the idea of drivers getting medals at each event, but I see no reason why Jacques Rogge and his chums could not award Olympic medals, in addition to World Championship points. It would be no great difference to being handed a trophy, although I think for a driver the idea of being Olympic champion would have a great deal more value.