F1 and the Olympics

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.

316 thoughts on “F1 and the Olympics

  1. Jo, but its country by country in the olympics so do we end up with a modified version of the failed A1GP classification?

      1. Think you missed the point Joe. He meant each entry represents a country. So is the country of driver? manufacturer?

          1. The breeder is not the owner though. I think it’s a redundant argument to be fair. Nor do I think F1 has any place in the Olympics, however I DO think that a one make series with equal equipment for all would be fantastic and fair for all “athletes” taking part. Make it Go Karts!

    1. Even better than a failed A1GP format, how about limiting Olympic events to only human powered things that can have an objectively determined winner? Equestrian, F1??? Humans.

      1. Yep, get rid of horse riding and judged sports like gymnastics.

        For me, Olympics should be about measurable sports.

        Of course the equestrian events will never be dropped, so bring on a karting Olympic event with equal & identical machinery (so no setup changes). Kind of like the Race of Champions, but with more nationalities represented.

        It might even reveal hidden talents that don’t have the funding to rise up through the ranks in the traditional manner.

        Oh and while we’re at it, bring on the Gran Turismo medals πŸ™‚

        1. There speaks someone from a scientific background I presume? I subscribe to the same thought process, but it would mean the loss of diving too, plus figure skating in the WInter Olympics.

          F1 would never work in the Olympics, there is more scope within F1 for a manufacturer to hit upon a winning design or simply have sufficient funds to throw at the problem hence the winners are virtually pre determined through who they are contracted to drive for, i.e. an HRT, Caterham or Maurussia driver is never going to stand a chance of winning a medal.

          If motorsport enters the Olympics then it needs to be a close, competitive, one make series so the emphasis is on the competitor not the manufacturer.

          Also, why combine? Each event stands alone perfectly well, you can feel patriotic about a team or driver without them having to clumped under one banner.

          1. My beef with judged events is it’s a matter of opinion, kind of like how overtaking manoevres are now judged in F1 when a driver uses the runoff, which is why I’m an advocate of putting in slippery kerbs and low grip tarmac in the run off areas (at least the first couple of meters of run off) and grippy tarmac on the race track itself. Do that and you won’t see anyone running off the track deliberately.

            And yes, figure skating and diving annoy me too πŸ™‚

            1. I completely agree with Pionir on the issue of judged events as for one, they open up the possibility for corruption to infect the events, something that has again reared it’s head in the boxing at the games this year. It will never happen however because gymnastics has become such an inconic part of the Olympic Games.

              I think if motorsport is included in the Olympic games it should be with go-karting as it would allow equal machinery which could be provided by a sole manufacturer who would provide the karts in return for their company name to be present on the karts. The karts would be assigned a number and each participant would draw a number to allocate the karts to each participant. The key advantages of go-karting as opposed to Formula 1 would be the limited expense, the ability for a host nation to construct a go-kart track, thereby promoting motorsport in the host country, the ability to give expert go-karters the ability to perform on a world stage and to gain valuable exposure from which to springboard their career into motorsport.

              I think the best possible chance for motorsport to be included in the olympics is for a city such as Detroit to host the games.

              1. Using track cycling rules about bike design and supply as an analogy :

                Single make wouldn’t necessarily be required as long as the technical regs were sufficiently strict and the homologation could be done well before the games.

                And the karts should/would be available on the open market for anyone to buy and race for themselves.

  2. Lots of complications with this. Entries are by country. Jenson and Lewis are ok in the British McLaren but Alonso in a Ferrari? He’d have to drive the HRT!

    1. Sorry, but as far as I know a driver had a nationality. Does a horse also? I thought the riding people simply bought the best ones they could find.

      1. in the olympics everything is organised by nationality. So for the cycling there is a british team, which provides the equipment and the support team and everything else – although that overlaps a lot with the commercial Sky team they are still separate, and you don’t get the Brits supporting Edvald Boasson Hagen, say, who is a Norwegian riding for Sky; he has the Norwegian team supporting him at the olympics.

        You can’t have commercial teams providing this, and they would have no incentive in any case, as they wouldn’t be able to carry their normal sponsorship (Olympic sponsors being incredibly well protected). Even if commercial teams did take their place, there would be a number of contenders to represent Britain, and an obvious one for Italy, but not many for other countries. And the investment required for other countries to put together a team for a single race would be impractical – I’d guess the IOC would not be keen on F1 purely on the basis that not enough countries would take part, let alone other reasons.

        Sorry Joe – I enjoy your writing and views, and love F1, but this is an insane idea and it’s never going to happen. I also don’t think F1 needs the olympics, or that the Olympics needs F1. Tbh, I don’t think some of the sports at the olympics that have existing bigger worldwide events (tennis, say, or perhaps even football) should be there either.

        1. Off the top of my head, Team GB’s male volleyball team had a coach with a distinctly dutch accent when I was watching on Sunday.

          In Beijing did all the different nations who’s swimmers wore polyurethane suits develop the technology independently and manufacture the suits themselves?

      2. Good question. I it has a pet passport (of sorts) then maybe it does. But surely a mechanical machine, that an F1 car is, cannot have a nationality, as it is not a living organism, such as a human or an animal ?

            1. Philosophical argument. An engineer would say that a car is a living thing when it is turned out. Humans when turned off aren’t much good either. And by your argument trees should be allowed in the Olympics.

            2. So wait, how does motorsport compare to bobsled racing? Or archery?

              With bobsleds, they are using highly advanced vehicles that use potential energy to propel them. With motorsports, they use highly advanced vehicles that use potential energy to propel them. The former uses gravitational potential energy; the latter uses chemical (or electrical) potential energy.

              What’s the difference?

      3. I’ve always deplored the total lack of any motorized sports in the Olympics.

        It wouldn’t even have to be F1 exactly, in fact I’d rather it not be. But how about various disciplines using identical cars?

        Have some form of race with open wheelers, something with GT3 or similar track cars, something with rally cars. Nationality of the drivers counts, all identical machinery in each event and qualifying for the Olympics depends on criteria for results in your own discipline of motor racing.

        A race of champions kind of thing really.

        It’d definitely be a lot more interesting than synchronized swimming..

  3. GP2 based race would be more likely as it would eliminate mechanical differences. And of course the World Championship has been ru for F2 cars in the past.

      1. I have no idea why, but the football is mostly for younger players + a limited number of older players, so with that logic GP2 would make more sense – to the Olympic rule makers ?

    1. I agree. F1 falls under the same category as Tennis, Baseball, Basketball or any other event that already has a major championship. Golf is a mistake to me. Karting or F2 or GP2 would make a lot more sense but to me it still doesn’t make sense, it’s a mechanical heavy idea. Shooting, bobsledding etc. are still more human than machine.

      Another thing that you’re not talking about Joe is the cost. $14b is rather a lot and running a car race is not exactly going to bring that figure down!

  4. I definitely think there is a place for a motorsport ‘olympics’, but as an a affilliate event rather than part of the main thing. But having a race along the lines of Formula 1 is not a fair race, as it needs to be more about driver ability, not machinery.

  5. If all it would take is for the GP that coincides with an Olympics to be renamed,
    include some medals – and still count towards the F1 championship, then i would have thought it would be the cheapest Olympic event in history.

  6. Another major barrier is that the Olympics doesn’t allow specific sponsorship. (e.g all the football stadiums being used had to remove all advertising hoardings). I can’t see F1 turning up somewhere where they have to run the cars with no advertising logos and the circuits running no advertising hoardings. That is before you even get into discussions of whether teams normal sponsors would have marketing conflicts with “official Olympic partners”.

    Then you have issues of entry – Olympics has to be open to those reaching certain qualifying standards. F1 would be seen as too much of a closed shop – i.e. how could China enter a driver in an Olympic Grand Prix.

    What I think would be more realistic is an Olympic equivalent of the Race of Champions.

    1. yeah I was going to suggest something like the race of champions. The sponsorship thing is the killer though, there’s lots of reasons why this wouldn’t happen but I think that’s the biggest. If the IOC spent 6 months shutting down the ‘Olympic Kebab House’ in Stratford then they’re not going to be happy with 2 dozen competing sponsors next to their brand and their official sponsors. (because nothing says coming together to play sport in peace like McDonalds, Coca Cola, VISA and General Electric.)

  7. Joe, totally agree. The three podium drivers get Gold, Silver and Bronze, but I would also give a second set of medels to the teams.

    So if Alonso wins in a Ferrari, Spain gets a gold and Italy gets a gold.

    Also, the British Grand Prix could have been rescheduled to take place during the Olympics.

    Likewise with the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2016.

  8. I think having a proper Olympic Grand Prix in the host country with drivers of the same nationalities teaming up, is utterly irrelevant to teams, drivers, sponsors, et cetera. I mean, the World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships are far more important.

    However, having an ‘Olympic Grand Prix’ label put on a race that’s already planned during or around the time of the Games, would be quite a nice thing. And since Olympics host nations are know for, what, 8 year in advance, it could even be possible to plan said Olympic Grand Prix in said nation during or around the timing of the Games.

  9. First of all, I’d just like to say I love both F1 and the Olympics. While F1 is my favourite sport, I’ve got no qualms about naming the latter as unarguably the greatest sporting contest in the world. However, as much as I enjoy both, I’m afraid a match-up between the two is not only unlikely, it is fraught with issues.

    First of all, as some others have said in the comments, there is the biggest problem of national identity. I have no issues with the use of machinery in the Olympics, yet the machinery for all drivers should be the same. The human should make the difference, as after all that is the truest sporting contest. But, if the drivers and teams are to enter as they are, then how are they represented? Technically, Force India are an Indian team, and Red Bull by the same measure are ‘Austrian’, yet both are based in Britain, along with the vast majority of other F1 teams. So how would they identify themselves? Add to that the confusing fact that each team have a massive soup of different nationalities working for them, the identity of the team as a whole becomes a very difficult matter to answer indeed.

    Another problem I see with F1 joining the Olympics is that F1 goes against most of the IOC’s core values. I agree with you, Joe, in that the days of no professionals at the Olympics are over, so I understand that that particular argument holds no water, but F1 is pretty much ruled by money and sponsors – two things that are kept to a minimum at the Olympic games. Would the cars be stripped bare of their sponsors? Would they all have the exact same, IOC-approved decals? I’m not so sure myself on that one.

    Lastly but by no means least, there is the old faithful ‘the Olympics should be the peak of your sport’ argument, which I subscribe to. I don’t think tennis and golf are particularly suited to the Olympics, but they’re here and seemingly here to stay. If F1 was to enter the Olympics as a one-off race every four years, it would undermine the main championship AND the Olympics at the same time, which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

    In conclusion, I have no qualms about having motorsport in the Olympics, but it would have to be in a stock, Olympic -designed machine (not dissimilar to what the ROC do with their buggies) and their should be no sponsors. So it’s just the drivers. Who are busy enough as it is, right? Unfortunately I think any form of motorsport in the Olympics is just a pipe-dream, sorry.

      1. To the contrary, going into a football stadium with all the ad boards replaced by olympic rings is an incredible experience. even the smallest corporate logo is covered.

        F1 wouldnt be able to cope.

        Go karting might be an option though.

    1. ” F1 is pretty much ruled by money and sponsors – two things that are kept to a minimum at the Olympic games.”

      you must be taking the piss?? That’s at best unbelievably ignorant – do you not own a tv?

  10. Nice try Sir, but we can all see your tongue jammed well into your cheek.

    Otherwise, it would get first prize in the Biggest Load of Tripe Olympic contest.

    1. I am not joking. I really think that F1 should be in the Olympic Games. Right now, it seems to me, that drug manufacturers still play a major role in the games. At least F1 does not have that curse.

      1. I could say the same about Mclaren! Although there isn’t much that can really help performance in motorsport the way that things like epo and steriods and the like have in many athletic sports. As you know the drivers are extremely fit, however they don’t really need the sort of benifits that drugs can give you.

        Although they do test in motorsport, I bet that a large percentage of the people that have been caught, have been caught because of recreational drugs, which is more of a safety issue than a performance issue

      2. Blimey Joe, you’re really going for it aren’t you?

        A massive dollop of Top Class Steaming Tripe, now you’re ladling on the drugs.

        My Gran just puts vinegar on her Tripe and Onions.

        No drugs in F1 says Joe Saward!

        As if…

        Even in the 70s, dear James couldn’t start a GP unless filled with a well known synthetic morphine analogue.

        All sports were tarnished with ATP analogues were the rage in the 80s, cocaine in the 90s, EPO in the naughties, and today…. at last they are clean.

        As if.

          1. Of course there are. Anything that enhances reaction times and mental agility, for a start (caffeine is the simplest and cheapest of these,but there are others that are more high tech and don’t come with the diuretic downside). Anything that enhances stamina and endurance as well, which includes the current bΓͺte noir EPO. Any human activity that requires human traits can be enhanced by use of drugs.

          2. I freely admit to being a layman but I see that as highly unlikely. Things like HGH and blood doping would no doubt help with endurance; certain muscle building drugs might help build neck and shoulder strength; stimulants could aid concentration and focus.

            1. I have to regretfully agree here. Having read the startling letter from 2008 by Dwain Chambers’ ex-coach here the other day: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/athletics/7403158.stm detailing the drugs regime he used to take to, amongst other things,
              “decrease fatigue and enhance mental alertness and reaction time”, “accelerate the basic metabolic rate…to reduce sluggishness and increase quickness”,
              “to…promote protein synthesis and muscle growth…after strenuous weight training sessions during the off season”,
              I found myself wondering precisely the same thing re. F1. The first of those (Modafinil, currently the darling of revising students) in particular.

              It was always said that part of Schumacher’s skill (first time round) was down to him being so physically fit that he had plenty of mental strength left to drive the car and plan his strategies etc. I can’t see how the above couldn’t help a driver.

          3. That is utterly false Joe. The direct application of attention and reaction enhancing nootropics not to mention weight loss products used to keep drivers slim and enhancements for muscle endurance. I think you’d be amazed.

            1. I am tempted to uneducatedly agree. I have read (amateurishly) many papers that suggest the least socially acceptable substances may improve aspects of short term memory recall, or something like that. Then there are things like Ritalin and SSRIs which can have huge cognitive effects, and as yet not studied downsides. The latter kind my old friend studies for approval trials. I risk it when I mention he is suspicious of them, but shall say that.

              Could it just be that “old timers” assume drugs are uppers, downers and bifters? I don’t think those would do much good, in any known specific way, but things have moved on so far, my mind . . .

          4. Indeed there are. What there isn’t is any transparent and reliable testing and reporting mechanisms in Bernie’s goldmine.

    2. The Olympics used to give out medals for events such as, Town Planning, Poetry, and Dog Grooming … They still have joke events like Synchronised Swimming and Hop Skip and Jump.

      I’ve always wondered why they don’t have Tug-of-War, they had Ballroom Dancing a few games back … But I do miss the Yingling πŸ™‚

      1. Synchronised Swimming has it’s place in the olympics it is the only time, like a lot of the other sports (which are however a lot better than Synchronised Swimming) as it’s the only time they get some coverage.

        1. I don’t think Synchronised Swimming has a place in the Olympics – any more than any other ‘sports’ that require a panel of judges to mark how well participants have performed… which would also rule out boxing, and most – if not all – of the ice skating (dancing… whatever) events in the winter version.

          I seem to recall that a few years ago, there were serious moves to have ballroom dancing included as an Olympic ‘sport’… crazy…

          1. Decisions made by referees in football, rugby and goodness knows what other sports are at times just as subjective as any in the “arty” sports.

            Synchronised swimming requires physical strength and flexibility, immaculate body control and thorough co-ordination and communication with your team.

            It doesn’t directly tick the boxes of the Olympic motto of “faster, higher, stronger” but then the vast majority of Olympic events only vaguely do.

            If the IOC weren’t all aged traditionalists there’s as much as case for a break-dancing event as there is for the floor in gymnastics. You could add skateboard / roller-skate / BMX freestyle events (ski and snowboard halfpipes are at the winter Olympics already), cheer-leading and “ultimate” fighting (which is the kind of name you get when an American designs a sport).

            1. There’s a vast difference between on-field referees enforcing the rules/laws of a game during play than judges marking performance after the event which IS very subjective, and has led (in the relatively recent past) to charges of collusion between judges of countries within certain political blocs – Soviet and former Soviet countries in particular.

              There have been numerous other problems reported in the past to with some ‘judged’ competitions, for example whether competitors have made themselves sufficiently popular with those judges. I think the IOC have actually insisted on changes in how those judges perform their tasks in both those particular cases of possible abuse of position.

              I don’t deny that the paticipants in synchronised swimming are strong and flexible – that’s not really the point; so are the preformers in ballet – and you’re surely not going to suggest that ballet becomes an Olympic sport?

              I think the IOC, traditionalists or not, need to seriously think about cutting the number of sports, certainly in the summer games. Not least because of the unustainable costs (that always double/treble/quadruple before the games even hit town, leaving the host cities with any number of ‘white elephant’ stadia and facitities.

              Personally, I think the time has come for the summer Olympics to be moved to a permanent host city; Athens. The NOC members would contribute to the staging every 4 years, with one NOC being given the ‘host’ role. Permanent facilites could then be upgraded and new facilites built as an when necessary.

              Break dancing? A sport? I hope you’re being ironic…

              1. I really don’t see much difference between the arbitrary nature of F1 stewards decisions, football refereeing and gymnastics scoring. Your point about voting blocs is valid, but to some extent seems to have been dealt with.

                As for reducing the number of sports, probably a good idea too. But the lines along which sports are in or out of the Olympics are incredibly arbitrary, my point was simply that there are enough sports outside the games which to my mind have just as much right to be in as the relative mainstays.

                And why not break-dancing?

                An event in which rhythmical movements requiring great strength, flexibility and grace are put to music – judged on criteria of technical difficulty, artist merit and precision.

                Am I describing gymnastics floor routines or break-dancing routines?

                Just because the music is often of the loud, bass-heavy variety belted out by people driving lowered cars with excessively wide exhausts and neon lighting, doesn’t mean that there’s any inherently lesser value to the latter than the former. If you believe that there is you’re assigning one based on personal taste.

                Look some up on youtube, turn your sound off and come back and look at what they’re doing not the clothes they wear. The only conclusion I can come up with is tradition wins out over any “real” criteria.

  11. From a logical standpoint there would either have to be no pit stops, or all mechanics would have to be of the same nationality as the driver, because the performance of the mechanics at a pit stop are part of the whole race time. The other fault in logic is that you don’t manufacture a horse, whereas you do manufacture a car, and how that is made has a large effect on the race time. Consequently the nationality of all those involved in getting the race time; designers, set up engineers, mechanics, drivers, would all have to be of the same nationality. As you well know it’s about the ‘package’ not just the driver. Nice theoretical thread to get us all talking though!

    1. If you have a look at the sailing and rowing, all of the boats are made to the same specs by a manufacturer, this could be done by someone like dallara or lola (if they survive) or swift. However whoever was making the cars would make an absolute mint on spare parts. The IOC would probs be able to charge 5 million+ to the person supplying the car

    2. By that logic, participants from any country should only have coaches from the same country, use equipment manufactured in the same country from materials procured from the same country.

      None of those things holds true in the games today. The Women’s 100m Breaststroke champion (Ruta Meilutyte) is Lithuanian, coached in the UK by a British coach. Gold medal for Lithuania, not the UK, if you’re keeping track. No idea where her equipment came from, but good bet that it’s not all from Lithuania.

      With a little research, I could come up with hundreds of examples.

      You “logical” standpoint has no logic in it.

  12. If you look at Profesional Cycling and the olympics the riders ar the same and they have the the same bike as they have all year but they do not represent their professional teams, they represent their countries. So with that presedent it is clear that F1 and the Olympics could not mix.

    1. That’s true, but those bikes that the professional cyclists ride can be bought by anyone in any good bicycle store for a somewhat reasonable price. I also understand the argument about equestrian; however I am of the opinion that equestrian should not be in the Olympic Games.

      In my mind Olympics should be limited to sports with:
      1) a quantifiable outcome based on time, speed, distance, weight etc (so no gymnastics, boxing etc, and probably no team sports like soccer, hockey, baseball etc, due to subjective decisions relating to penalties)
      2) any machinery should be human powered (i.e. rowing, canoeing, cycling, but not sports like sailing or equestrian), and
      3) equipment required to compete in the sport should be commercially available to all competitors (i.e. no one of limited edition prototypes).

      On this basis, motor racing does not make a suitable Olympic sport, as it fails two of the three things that I think should be present in Olympic Sports. One could almost argue that motorsport would fail all three criteria as penalties in motorsport often involve some level of subjectiveness.

      1. A couple fun articles show that the F1 culture and F1 teams and suppliers are already well involved in the Olympics.



        Obsessive attention to detail, cutting edge engineering and design, advanced materials and electronics and even the same studious approach to the rulebook are part of the British Olympic cycling effort. McLaren actually worked with the team to develop an advanced device called the Datarider to measure performance according to the Independent article (which is full of great Olympic geekery).

        With F1 culture already installed to some degree within the Olympic movement then, might as well bring in the rest of the show. The drivers certainly endure Olympic levels of physical stresses and train exceptionally hard. If only those stresses could be better ‘seen’ by viewers; perhaps with the broadcast of real-time biological telemetry or some transparent composites that let us see the drivers at work.

        It would also be fun to see the cars decked out in country colours.

      2. And on some occasions the bicycle badging does not reflect the true manufacturer, it depends upon contractual agreements between team and manufacturer, and rider and manufacturer. Perhaps we could see 20+ Ferraris badged ion pairs to satisfy team contracts as McLaren, Ferrari, Williams, Lotus/Renault/Benetton/Toleman/your team name goes here… etc.

  13. I totally agree with most of the comments above about F1 and the Olympics being fundamentally incompatible but also as said before a Race of Champions style event allowing drivers from different categories to compete would be well worth watching.

  14. The upside for a kart race is that future olympic stadia could easily designed to have a track within the stadium. Sadly I suspect that no form of motor racing will ever be in the Olympics, because the elderly people that control the olympics, are just not motor sport minded. However, anything would be better than synchronised swimming. Bring back poetry I say.


  15. Personally I think a general motorsport event would be good, say identical open wheelers, with national teams. I get your point about horses, but in F1 terms I’d say there is probably more disparity among cars. Equal machinery would make it all about the drivers and make it something more than just another F1 race, which the IOC would probably favour.

  16. joe,

    What about endurance racing, that would win over the sceptics. running start(every body likes running), 3-4 drivers per team iand with medal awarded to drivers and pit crews for there efforts.

  17. It won’t be in the Olympics in the near future for one glaringly obvious reason. It would be very hard for Bernie to make any money out of it!
    By the way how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin? πŸ˜‰

    1. I am just glad that you did not say that persuading the IOC to accept F1 in the Games would require business activities that not what Mr E would ever get involved with.

      1. Sorry about this but could not resist, apologies in advance :
        Bernie would run rings around them.

        As we know it’s been done before, it would need to be the driver to represent the country, since the majority of F1 cars are made in the uk anyway.

        No, the thing that would scupper it nowadays which was not around the first time is the heavyweight sponsors (and their equally heavy lawyers).

        If one looks at the restrictive practices that have been/are involved in the UK Olympics, impinging directly on some pretty basic freedoms (with the connivance of the government) and then look at the very tight commercial structure of F1, there could be a meeting of the immovable object and the irresistible force, either resulting in a huge explosion or a sponsorship tie up of such ferocity that it would act as a black hole sucking in all money that came anywhere near the event. (It is already happening in some uk cinemas and of course at all uk international airports)

  18. What did you have for Breakfast…………..

    Scalextric is the answer………………..no sporting or commercial problems, open and available to all, cost effective and very green…………………..Little physical training required and good with age………………………….and Scalextric is already a product partner of the Olympics…………….

    1. Bit too crunchy for me, besides those braids get stuck between your teeth.

      However they do have something that we need in future in F1 and that is shunt braking.

  19. You would have to use a spec F3 or palmers f2 or similar cars (much like they have in sailing where the equipment is pretty much exactly the same for everyone) . However the problem you would get is that it would probably cost best part of half a million to compete and you couldn’t really run sponsorship on the cars, second it would depend on engineers you have, and whether or not you manage to get or good car or find some “special dampers”. Using the current F2 model of having a pool of cars and have an engineer for each driver would be best.

    If the equestrian events were trying to become an Olympic sport now I doubt they would be let in.

    Re the football thing: I don’t think it was totally the IOC that decided to stipulate that only under 23s + 3 others, can compete in the football competition. It would have been a FIFA decision so as not to have another version of the world cup.

  20. With equestrianism, anyone who can afford to can buy a horse and try to meet the required criteria to represent their country at the Olympics but in F1 drivers chosen by the teams rather than a national Olympic selection committee.

    I also think any “Olympic Grand Prix” would need to be a stand-alone event and not part of the World Championship. As far as I can tell (after a few minutes of Googling) the Olympic Tennis competitiors are not awarded points towards the ATP World Tour.

    If it were down to me (and it probably never will be!) the Olympic Motor Racing competition would be contested in a fleet of purpose-built 700 bhp cars based on roadgoing Caterhams (ie brick-like aerodynamics). Each country could select up to 5 people to represent them so you would have up-and-coming drivers competing against F1 stars. As in the 3 Day Event for the equestrians, there would be individual and team medals decided by a series of Formula Ford Festival style heats leading to a Grand Final.

    Imagine that at Interlagos as part of the Rio Olympics!!!!

  21. Love the idea but to whom do you award the medal? The driver or the team? Perhaps medal to the driver and some extra points for the team that goes towards the championship? Win win.

  22. Nah,

    this is all about England winning all the medals! πŸ™‚

    Some French dude on the IOC is going to allow that????

    Okay, Romain Grosjean wins in a Lotus (ahem) with a team based at Enstone, and likely engineers from Yorkshire, or thereabouts . .

    Actually, I think it would be a brilliant idea . .

  23. I came up with an idea on my Facebook yesterday involving various motorsports. Each team has six drivers (with up to two “elite” driver who has participated in a ,major world series aka F1, WTCC) so Team GB could have Lewis Hamilton, Matt Neal, Jason Plato, Gordon Shedden, Matthew Wilson and Andy Priaulx. There are various races in that, for example a ROC style head to head, Sprint race, Feature Race and could also feature various disciplines of motorsport ie a rally stage, a single seater stage and touring cars.

  24. Well, if all these comments are true about the sponsors and their behaviour, the Red Bull car for starters would be running with no logos so as not to upset another fizzy drink manufacturer who has paid to be there.

    Taking the horse analogy, they buy the best they can and there is a definite empathy between rider and beast. I know a Canadian lady who was up for selection for the Olympics. Sadly, her horse died. She withdrew from selection. She could not just jump on another horse and ride it. So the same goes for F1 Olympics. The driver wins the medal and thanks his lucky stars he is in a (Not official car sponsor) red car, (Not official phone supplier) but can say McLaren or (Not official fizzy drink supplier) blue car.

    And countries like UK and Germany are lucky they have more drivers to represent their nation than others. This works both ways too – what is it that South Korea cleans up? Tae-kwon do? Or something like that anyway.

    Personally I feel it will not happen, but a nice talking point ahead of Joe’s upcoming fishing trip I guess.

  25. Why limit it to F1 though? Why not a motorsport event in general? You mention three-day-eventing, but that’s three different types of event: a dressage, showjumping and a cross country jump.

    I’d also like to see everyone in the same machinery, so that it is a test of the athlete (i.e. the driver) and not who has the best car.

    Now if you were arguing for the Race of Champions to be in the Olympics, that is something I could really get behind!

  26. Slow news week? Oh yes F1 just gone on holiday.

    Anyway, I think we should have an artic F1 race on ice….oops sorry that would be for the Winter Olympics.

  27. I have pondered this before and think that its a good idea especially, as you say, by making it points based and eligible for that years championship as well. although it would be probably more exciting to have it group based with 3 or 4 shorter races leading, by elimination, to a final. Although I realise that the logisitcs of this would be a nightmare! They could certainly have a ROC type/style event featuring the best drivers in the world that would certainly be more inclusive and TV friendly.

      1. But the boats in things like rowing, kayaking and sailing are standardised to a strict set of regulations.

          1. Are we now looking at horses towing the cars? as per trotting races. (Something which the great Maurice Ward turned to in his later life, if only he had had Bernie)

            1. Maybe we could just have each F1 team design a trotting sulky to be pulled by a horse and driven by the teams F1 drivers. that would be relatively cheap and simple to set up and get a driver a medal…

          2. Unless you have a very spoiled girlfriend. Then they are standardized not far off F1 spec! πŸ™‚

        1. If you want to see some expensive, custom technology in the Olympics check out the shooting events. Even the clothing is bespoke. Not all equipment (or, certainly, animals) are “one design.” Far from it. Also, don’t forget about the swim suits from years past. Amazing technology.

  28. Obviously the car plays to much of an influence for F1 to be an Olympic sport and if you include F1 you have to include other motorsports and I think Joe is just having a laugh here.

    I think what should be done is a race of champions type format like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQyH2xi46s8 Two identical cars over different race categories competing in a stadium with the winner over all the categories like ROC getting the Gold.

    Competing in the same cars eliminates the unequal machinery problem which puts it all down to the driver which is what the Olympics is all about.

          1. The horse should get a medal also or probably preferable for the horse some more nice hay and a bag of top quality nuts!

            A car unlike the horse just can’t appreciate the finer things in life and just doesn’t deserve to have a defining role in the Olympics!

          2. Did anyone just see the news that Adrian Newey has bought a horse?

            He is investigating adding a new rear diffuser and bringing in a rear wing which sits behind the “exhaust” to create more downforce. A front wing will be fitted to the nose and it is rumoured that sponsorship has been arranged via Dietrich and it will be called Horso Rosso!

    1. Funny co-incidence, had an email from my Kazakh friend today (new job with GE, sweet) and being of Mongol decent, he would likely argue there is little difference between a horse and a human, in terms of operation.

      But it is the relationship you have with your horse that matters.
      I see no difference between that and a driver learning engineering to drive better.

  29. Silly season in full swing…
    Gotta ‘churn the account’ during F1 vacation…
    Thanks for entertainment!

  30. Don’t allow F1 to debase it’self by being associated with the Olympics and it’s culture of corporate greed, excessive and wasteful spending, cheating and abuse of well meaning volunteers.

    Oh, it kind of fits, doesn’t it. πŸ˜‰

  31. I forgot to mention it’s only fair that all drivers race in HRT’s if we go with the above theory. That way we don’t have the issue of clashing sponsors or names, and Narain Karthikeyan might finish above last.

    1. Isn’t the HRT essentially the same car that is used in GP2 ?? Or have they actually moved on from that chassis and are using one of thier own design joe?

  32. Talking of horses – in the modern pentathlon, the horses are allocated to each rider randomly so part of the skill is in being able to adapt to the characteristics of different horses

    Imagine if Lewis got drawn to drive in the HRT!

  33. I was just watching the show jumping (Olympic horse power) and thinking since the horse is doing all the work anyway, wouldn’t it be better if the riders were blind folded? Then I remembered a cool feature I saw on the German or maybe Austrian F1 coverage two or three years ago where the got Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock to draw the circuit blindfold by listening to their engine noise on headphones. They were amazingly accurate which just goes to show, show jumpers should be blind folded!

  34. Interesting concept, but so many variables that would need to be clarified / ironed out before the various Olympic parameters could be adhered to. I mean, take nationality… Ferrari is a German team, with a Spanish driver. So would the team be partaking in an Olympic Grand Prix representing Italy, or would Alonso be somehow driving representing Spain? It’s a lot simpler to apply the framework to, say, Football, where a player of a particular nationality might play for Chelsea, and then come World Cup time he’s in, say, a French or German team. But with so F1 teams clearly being identified with a nationality as well (Constructors’ anthems played on the podium etc) then it could be a minefield to establish how to organise a race…

    I also think that there’s the legacy factor to consider. With a sport like, oh I dunno, the 100m sprint, or javelin throwing or whatever, one sees that the atheletes are building up their preparation for a year or more in advance just for this one event, and they know that whatever they achieved on the day will stand as a benchmark for 4 years, and will always represent the peak of what they could do that year. But there’d be no sense of that with an Olympic F1 race – it would just be another day at the office for the teams and drivers, and whatever result was achieved would be just another result. If there was an Olympic F1 race, and it was Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, then there’d be little sense that anything special had occurred that represent a once-in-4-years pinnacle – it would merely be a re-branded race packaged under the 5 rings logo, as opposed to an ‘Olympic event’, y’know?

    In a sense I suppose I also think ‘why bother?!’ I mean, I have no time for the Olympics really – I tend to think it’s an overly-political, money-saturated sponsor-fest that happens to involve a bit of running or swimming or whatever… F1 to me seems genuinely purer in some way – no one pretends that it’s something it’s not, or tries to dress it up to be something more virtuous than it is. It’s a business / sport combined, and it’s unashamed of it. In that way it somehow seems more pure to me than the Olympics, so I’m not sure I see the point in trying to force a square peg into a round hole. The Olympics should be running after F1, not the other way round….

    1. Incidentally, FuelGreener, like your blog.

      Only point, we’ve had electric ships for 60 years. They just had n – plants aboard!

        1. You’re right, FG. Not an exact qualification, because it’s basically n – steam power. But it sure provided the ‘leccy for everything else, including huge capacitors and batteries to store backup if a shutdown or rundown was necessary. Not funny being a icebreaker with no steampower!

          Actually, what I first liked about your blog was the very european magazine style front page, lots of big pics and stories. Not done very often.

          May I say something please, I know any SEO will say outgoing links are bad for google ratings and all that, I even try to avoid them here, in comments, unless they are very good, but that is just exactly what is useful to a reader, IMO. I had a similar idea that just got feauturitis so never saw light of day (actually it was a way bigger idea) but one photo geek site I think is clever is 1001noisycameras.com. They seem to do very well just aggregating links to all the stories out there. Oh, if I only showed you the pitch I had in 2004. That was my “Annus Horribilis” so everything got iced. Now almost any camera is excellent unless you are drunk. There is absolute marketing hand to hand combat out there, only to me it looks like handbags at dawn. That was very predictable, and was predicted by many, so I am not saying I had anything special insight wise.

          Skipping cameras, outgoing links are useful. They are what made the web before it was more in need of being commercial. I don’t do this professionally, but after 20 years of playing with the tech (and a few consulting gigs, and 7 years of coaching a pal to set up a web design company over daily chats) ask me any time for an opinion. (If you want a real pro, my pal and neighbor is a usability specialist recently responsible for the better bits of the BBC site) Only let’s contact, if you so wish, over on your place, not here. Freely given, because I fear the web is going backwards. Really, if you can stand it, it’s a favourite subject. My time, as much of it as you can stomach (my own schedule permitting) is for the taking, because I keep thinking I have half a idea for something to rebalance this, and would love to talk. I’m not some jerk who hides behind legalese or NDAs or like that either. Because I *do* talk about unburied projects, if they are of interest to others. Make pie bigger, not pinch slices! None of that cra* works anyhow. If you have a really good idea, you *want* to be copied. Would Coke do well without Pepsi? It’s a big enough industry anyhow, this ad game . .

          keep it up, I shall keep reading your stuff. I have a selfish incentive: soon enough this eco thing will get past PR fluff and be really real, and then, well, there will be adverts to trade!


          – john

      1. Was at Greenwich yesterday supporting my cousin. Her horse cost ‘Β£500 out of the field’ and will, I believe, have a very successful future. Incidently she is a very proud Manucian and completely English but was dressed head to in orange because the rider was Dutch.

        1. I’m sad to not have been fast enough – yet – to blague any tickets to Greenwich. Bit trying on spec, and disorganized at that. Did not know pal’s daughter was so interested / attracted. Should have thought, young girl, horses, of course! But we got to see some being exercised from afar, to cool down, a real sight, even through a fence. I hope I can find some replays.

          My first naive love was mad for horses, and very spoiled, but she also believed a great horse need not cost silly money. Down to earth lass, grew up around them. Long story short, she rather preferred my rival (who everyone at school thought was my brother, until his kid brother finally came up, and honestly he could never have been a “rival” in any argumentative sense because i simply could never argue with him!) because he had a farm and horses. He was and remains nuts for horses too. Married a girl who ran a stud farm. Slightly wrong choice of girl, he ended up licking his wounds with his two favorites in Morocco to get over the divorce. Boy, do I owe him a call . .

          So much of it is the spiritual affinity. At the age I am talking about, really just a little boy, I was a nervous sort, and that made bonding with a horse in any way nigh impossible. Maybe not wholly nervous, but not exuding the calm you need. Though I never had a bad reaction from any one. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad taking me to nearby farms and trying to entice the horses to come talk with us from across their field. No sugar lumps or other incentives, not proper to do that. I think he would have had the touch, as it were, if he had wanted to try. They always came, and I just looked up, in awe.

          I don’t think that being a engineering genius or a super dedicated obsessive type like Schumi was, is on the same spiritual level as living with a superlative beast who trusts you and understands you. But I do believe the private human emotional response may be very similar. Therefore I am in favor of finding some way to explore more drivers who can connect in similar ways with their cars. Maybe we can’t have a Senna-esque seance with the machine created for every new talent, but I believe we should explore. Man and machinery is now as important to our contemporary history as man and beast of burden.

          I will make a point to try to find a replay of your cousin.

          The points Joe made about a highly trained horse being a dangerous companion to the inexperienced, to my mind simply echo what a F1 car is. Funny thing, I have such strong opinions as to the perceived elegance of motor cars, but though a thoroughbred is easy to spot, to me all of them are beauty.

          Please forgive my emotional response. I am just carried away by the debate and wish better things for F1, and maybe one day to make friends with a horse!

  35. Interesting point – however I must disagree that an Olympic race could be held in Hungary for the London games… Brands Hatch yes, abroad absolutely not.

    Also I feel it must be a race not a F1 GP. By that I mean that sponsorship would not be allowed in any form, and the drivers would have to race in national colours.

    By any argument the type of cars required would need to be identical (similar to Yachting) so GP2 might be an idea.

    As any national organisation would likely be allowed to enter 2 drivers, I would assume there would be enough entries that the drivers would have to progress though heats before an Olympic final; so it could provide an exciting event over a few days.

    Roll it on, but it would take a lot of planning, and I expect there would be a lot of commercial resistance because, God forbid, it might be more exciting than a GP !!

    1. I’d go for F2 not GP2 because you could need as many as 120 cars…..
      In that sense the format would be like a an oversubscribed karting event with a number of heats leading to a prefinal/semi finals and a final.

      Running it at that level would ope it up to more drivers, allow F1 drivers (contracts would simply allow Olympic selection) to compete and a nationa could get its hands on a vehicle and do all the necessary training in it. In another sense something F Renault 2.0 might be even better as it already has variants around the world.

  36. I was having a discussion with some friends about which sports should and shouldn’t be in the olympics the other night. We all agreed in the end that sports which are massive global businesses first and sports second should be out, which means that football, golf and F1 are out.

    On the other hand I’d love to see some kind of motorsport in the olympics.

    Obviously all cars would have to be sponsored by McDonald’s and Coca Cola.

  37. It’s a fantastic idea and will do much to foster the development of motor racing as a sport. Given the requirements for Olympic pre-qualification, China, the USA, Britain, Germany, etc. will begin selecting suitable drivers and developing suitable cars for at least four years before the event. Australia will have at least one Aboriginal driver in a suitably emblazoned overall, some Arab country will have at least one woman driver, at least one eastern European will be disqualified for drug abuse, and Bernie Ecclestone will complain vociferously about the lack of security….and the fact that he could not control the TV rights? Oh, and if Kimi Raikkonen won gold he would probably give the medal to a mate..

  38. Folks, I’ve got it.. Joe’s having a contest with James Allen, who can get the most comments with a silly Olympic wind-up.

    We’ll know for sure when his mate, David “Pepsi” Tremors joins in on the last lap.

  39. i had a bit of a think about other forms of motorsport apart from f1 and came to the conclusion that speedway gp would be the best form of motorsport to go into the olympics. There are already national teams, you could have both individual and team competition, it is relatively cheap and the bikes are pretty much all the same. It would only need a medium sized stadium/arena. If poland ever hosts the games i wouldn’t be surprised seeing this as a trial event

  40. I can see the point of having Motorsport as an Olympic event but I don’t think F1 is the right one to choose. The Olympics is about the achievements of an indivdual or a small team. In all events where an external ‘device’ – anything from shoes to a bike or horse – is needed, the athlete or team chooses the best or the equipment they must use is specified.

    To have a fair competition it would either have to be a one-make formula or the competing nations would have to be free to buy in whichever car they thought gave them the best chance.

    Maybe something akin to a more serious RoC would be a good candidate, otherwise I would say a more controlled forumula such as GP2, Indycar or some form of touring / stock cars is more appropriate. Of course, if it became an Olympic sport there may be demand for Ferrari, McLaren etc to build customer cars but what I guess I’m saying is that the current format of F1 doesn’t match the format of the other Olympic events.

  41. As pointed out, F1 is an international effort – the pilot is one important part of the team, but if it’s all gonna be about who’s the best pilot, you ought to take a particular F1 team/car out of the equation.
    F1 is also at the edge of technology and very budget driven. Remember the controversy about swim suits in the previous olympics? (whether they’re legal or not, etc), imagine that kind of scrutiny applied to an F1 car.
    Also, F1 is so damn political and money is so tied to the cars themselves (there’s lots of money in soccer, but once the game is on, it’s a bunch of guys and a ball).
    In the end I think motorsport racing as a place at the Olympics, but they should have competitions akin to what you see in Top Gears, i.e. races/time attacks in common out of the shelf cars. Of course then you lose the glamor of F1…

  42. I just rewatched the “Senna” documentary – when he says his best racing memories were kart – no money, no politics, just pure racing.

      1. Yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me.

        How about an event in the format of “The Race of Champions”?

        “.. is an international motorsport event held at the end of each year, featuring some of the world’s best racing and rally drivers. It is the only competition in the world where stars from Formula One, World Rally Championship, NASCAR, sportscars and touring cars compete against each other, going head-to-head in identical cars.”

  43. although the analogies between horses and cars is fine (i.e. horses are not standardised, and you get ‘teams’ of people setting them up etc) i think i’d still prefer to see something like a superkart race, with F1 guys against WRC, GP2, and USA race series. Each driver gets an identical kart and a toolbox πŸ™‚

  44. Sorry Joe, but I cannot agree with your logic here. Surely you rail often enough against corruption in F1 without getting involved in the most hypocritical and corrupt sport organization on the planet. The Olympic ideal (as espoused by de Courbetin) has long been tarnished. Now it is just a joke and to see politicians salivating at the prospect of lining their own pockets with taxpayers money through hosting such an event is wholly reprehensible. The Olympics have had their day and I hope that F1 has not…

    1. There’s already too much politics in both. Why mix them together so we can have more? IMO a bad idea.

      1. Amen to that. I wouldn’t touch the Olympics with a ten-foot pole. No, make that twenty.

        ‘Course, I’ll still end up paying for them for the next thirty years…

  45. Surely you must be Joking Mr. Saward….. (definitely with a tongue in cheek I presume).

    PS: Sorry for lifting the book title about Richard Feynman. πŸ™‚

    1. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out – Feynman


      (URL shortened so as not to embed)

      I grew up reading him, and if you look about even his lectures are online now. But this one, a BBC Horizon docu is to me the most delightful.

        1. If I have to, I shall cook you a barbecue on the highway outside your hospital room, should you ever fall unwell.

          Maybe we should all do things like that, for whoever, anybody, time to time.

          I forget who wrote him a postcard, something like “I could never get my mother to understand anything about physics, what can I say to her?”

          He replied, sic, “Stuff physics. Love is all that matters.”

          Please, anyone not getting what we are on about, go to a library or look up the youtube thing. When, first time and a good 20 years after it was broadcast, I reviewed “The Pleasure of. . ” I was in tears all the way through, because I had forgotten how much he affected my young life, how idealistically in certain ways he had influenced me, and hence some naive stupidity which most certainly completely changed my career and life, and how little I had actively done to live mine well, in ways other people could understand. In ways that others could understand.

  46. Have to disagree with you here Joe. Grand Prix racing has no place in the Olympic Games. I would also suggest tennis, golf and soccer shouldn’t be included either. The events in the olympics should represent the pinnacle of that sport in my belief – the sports I mentioned all have their own legendary championships to be won.

    1. This is not the point. They are in the Olympic Games, and so motor racing should be. Athletics has loads of different championships as well.

  47. Hi Joe,

    You know I respect you and your views but this one is totally out of the top. The Olympics is about human achievement and not about what toy loads of money can buy. Its already insane enough to award world championship titles to drivers when some rich dude has bought him the fastest car and now to give him an Olympic medal is way too much. I think you ought to give the Olympics and its medal winners more due and respect.

      1. You could even argue that a motorsport event would be more of a contribution from the human as the car does not have a mind of it’s own, a horse does.

        1. Zing! Exactly! Ban bicycles, rifles, canoes, and all other equipment as well… since this is about human achievement.

          1. How far do you go? Make everyone run barefoot? Swimmers can only wear their birthday suit? Bare knuckle boxing?

            We regularly use technology to enhance our performance. There is no reason not to compete in assisted sports. The point is that the performance should be that of the competitor, regardless of the skill they are demonstrating.

      2. Agree Joe, I also think any equipment not powered by human strength and precision should also be banned. As a good horse or a good car cannot and should not get you a gold medal.

  48. Well, there was motor racing at the 1900 Olympics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_racing_at_the_1900_Summer_Olympics

    I am thinking that an outright F1 race would be senseless. A Race of Champions sort of event would be more appropriate though, in equal cars. Before every event they could vote on the cars to be used (may it be single-seater, rally car, stock car, or just a regular road car) and drivers would compete in time trials.

    Otherwise I can’t imagine head-to-head racing.

    Or they could incorporate driving into pentathlon, for example (what would it be called then? sexathlon? :D). A short circuit, special stage or hill climb could easily be part of it.

    1. They should bring back the delivery van competition, where the driver has to load 10 parcels into the van, drive a specified route, and then unload the parcels at the destination. THAT would be entertaining. It was dominated by France in 1900, but I think some other countries could challenge that in 2016!

  49. I think some sort of single seater racing would be a good idea, but I’d like to see each countries top young drivers rather than the top names currently in F1. Give the young people a chance to show thier skills and have seperate races for male and female drivers.

  50. I like the idea of a motorsports competition. But for something of Olympic caliber, F1 features far too much emphasis on the equipment.

    As we all know, the drivers who sits most of the cars on an F1 grid are not in any kind of real competition whatsoever for the top 3 spots. I don’t think the world really cares which among McLaren vs. Red Bull vs. Ferrari would win gold vs. silver vs. bronze. The only respect in which an F1-based competition would be national in character is that it would pit England against Italy…which would really be between non-native residents of Oxfordshire vs. non-native residents of Maranello. When seen in this light, what’s the point?

    I do agree that they cannot standardize horses. But they can standardize cars. I think the more useful analogy is sailing, not horses. When they do sailing, they don’t use America’s Cup boats, they use unremarkable ordinary boats, thus making the competition about the sailors. The same should be true of any Olympics motorsports competition: it should be about the drivers, not the cars. Thus, some form of spec series would be far more appropriate for an Olympic contest. Seen in this light, F1 would seem to be the least appropriate of all possible choices.

    Whether that series should be karts vs. something else, well, I don’t know enough to judge. I would be happy to leave it to other who know more than I do about the particulars.

  51. Awh. You guys…….

    Maybe F1 freestyle would work better in a stadium. A combination of events to incl.

    100m drag race.
    Fastest 8 doughnuts – bit like the start of the hammer
    Long jump – Evel Kneivel style.

    Strugglin now…..not got a lot of legs this one eh?

  52. Olympic Procar? Now that would be good.

    If motorsport were to be part of the Olympics (and I agree that, philosophically, there’s no reason why not) I’d prefer it to be a test of the driver and not of the car. Either rent the GP2 field for a couple of weeks, buy up the old A1GP cars, or go for tintops as they do at the RoC and did in Procar.

  53. Ok here goes….
    Each country has to bring 2 drivers and 1 custom built car – so it can be made by whoever they want but must be the same. But the drivers cannot be from the same series. It doesnt have to be F1 standard – can be DTM car etc, but lets dream of an F1 type for now….

    Essentially the cars must all be similar a bit like GP2 from a rules point of view. But by making it a generic motorsport event as opposed to F1 then you can get indycar drivers, Nascar drivers, V8, WRC, DTM and F1 drivers etc all participating. You can hold 2 qualifying races with if it is oversubscribed with entries although I suspect the cost of the car will limit entries. The race would feature at least 1 pitstop where the drivers change over so the pitstop would take a min or two for driver/seat change etc

    Only issue with this is the recession whereby maybe Spain didnt enter a car so we dont see Alonso due to cost constraints, but if you can imagine
    Lewis/Franchitti – team GB
    Alonso/Sordo – Spain
    Jimmie Johnston/Hunter-Reay – USA,
    Loeb/Grosjean – France
    Hirvonen/Raikkonen – Finland
    Massa/castroneves – Brazil
    Vettel/Scheider – Germany
    Will Power/Webber or Whincup, – Australia,
    Spengler/Villeneuve – Canada
    Scott Dixon/Hartley New Zealand

    I love it!

    1. I prefer a model more like gymnastics. Each country brings a team of x drivers. A number of different categories (single seater, touring cars, rallying, ovals, etc). Team event (all drivers compete in all categories), best team score wins. Individual all round, where drivers compete in all categories, and best individual overall wins, and then medals for each individual category.

  54. I appreciate your argument and think you’ve created an interesting discussion. I definitely think that motorsports should at least be considered but not f1. My understanding is each country can enter someone in each event, ie there are no qualification standards for Olympics only qualifications to get in a countries team for that sport, although they do impose max number of competitors per country. So how could China compete when there are no driver’s in any of the teams?

    I think they could hold multiple different motorsports events – bikes, karts, rally, endurance and single seaters plus a best all rounder competition. They then standardise certain parts; engine, chassis etc but allow teams to modify others; brakes, wings, exhausts. If Bernie is then forced to have summer break while Olympics is on could be very interesting and team GB could get some medals πŸ˜€

  55. I avoid watching the Olympics like the plague but if there was a motorsport event, I’d watch it. An F1 race would be okay but if I had my druthers, I would want several different events such as a NASCAR oval track, a WRC rally track, a DTM type, drag race, World of Outlaws sprint Cup, Australian V8.
    Even though this would never happen, could you do it by having the contestants at a computer terminal with an iracing or Gran Tourismo type computer simulation? I watch one of the iracing events last December with a number of second level racers: Bobby Labonte, Scott Speed, Tommy Kendall etc do trucks at Charlotte oval and sports cars at Watkins Glen. Lots of fun,since on a computer simulation you can try aggressive maneuvers that you seldom see in a real life “picking up points” mentality.
    Obviously doing ian Olympic event as a computer sim is new and probably anathema to traditionalists. But it is the 21st century and you could also lower the costs of holdingit (leaving more money for the Olympic overloods to pocket for themselves).

  56. While I would love to see motorsport in the Olympics and think that it should be there (swimming has umpteen medals so why not a couple for motorsport?).
    HOWEVER I think something like ROC, or in a similiar vein at a local race track.

    F1 CAN NOT at all be considered to count as an olympic sport like you said, Joe for 2 reasons.
    1) Horses are different but roughly the same speed. Canoes are made to spec, bobsled are spec. F1 cars are not. Having 2 Brits, an Aussie, a German and a Spainard and maybe a Finn being the only ones with a chance isn’t fitting with the olympics.
    If Australia is horrible at a sport its because the athlete, not because our athlete is only in a Force India and hence can’t get close.
    2) The olympics set out certain performance levels and all countries are allowed to send athletes. In F1, seats are limited to 24, and the difference between some F1 drivers are others is a bag of cash from a Latin American country. That doesn’t run with the olympics. Nick D’Arcy, an Australia **** who qualified for the olympics but fell out in the semis did so on performance, not becasue he had a bag of cash.

    And a 3rd for fun…) Penalties and such are a part of F1. Gearbox changes, grid penalties from the previous race etc… Imagine if Phelps had to start with a 2 second penalty because some judges deemed he jumped the gun in the previous race earlier this year?
    And 4) Sponsors. Teams need money to run. They have sponsors. The olympics don’t allow you to emblazen your horse or canoe with Santander or Mobil or whomever. So who will fund the teams for this round? The countries? Which countries? Bernie? doubt it.

    I think a ROC style would be great. Maybe timetrials at first to get the numbers down to something manageable. 3 runs. 1 rally, 1 circuit in a single seater aero based car and 1 in a touring style car.

    Cuts the field to 32. Then everyone goes again and the numbers are cut to 16. This leads to a ROC style.

    The 2 tracks can be run at Silverstone. One on a short course the other on the full (F1) circuit. Times are combined for timetrials.

    If Rally is too unpredictable for weather then remove t and replace with karts! (also removes the elitist argument… karts aren’t cheap but cheaper than a horse… or canoe etc….)

    1. You can control an F1 car to give equal performance across all machines. You can’t do this with a horse. What about bicycles? What about rifles? All these items are equipment as well. I would argue that it makes more sense to allow an F1 car over a horse… since like I said, you can control the performance of the car.

      1. Not really. The aero of an F1 car cant’ be controlled. They can only remake it to be the same.

        Sure the canoes and everythinga re exactly the same, but atleast everyone CAN win.
        HRT, Marussia, Caterham, Force India, STR, Sauber, Williams etc… have no hope really. THat’s not fair. It would have to be a spec car.

        1. The aero of an F1 car can be controlled with ridiculous amounts of accuracy. Hence the reason they spend millions on CFD and wind tunnel testing. Of course I agree that it would need to be a spec car. But you could again bring up the argument that the olympics does not use a spec horse, so there ARE already differences in equipment used in the games. So I really don’t think that you have to use a spec car… although I agree it would be wise.

          But again… yes, you can control aero. Adrian Newey is an Aerodynamicist… his job is to control aero.

          1. The differences between the 1st placing and 10th placing horse is less than the difference between a Red Bull/McLaren/Lotus and a Caterham.

            One country can go in with not the best horse and win. I doubt Force India would win. And then you have to count in the engine as well.

            A spec car would save money as well.

            You can control aero.. by having the same aero. No other way

  57. Personally I see no need to include F1. For me, the highest level of open wheel competition (arguably of motorsport) is F1, so there’s no higher achievement for a driver. No need to cheapen it with a lowly olympic medal πŸ˜€

    I’d rather see the more traditional sports than ones that already have major international competitions.

    Interesting post and a workable proposal. I had this discussion (more of an argument) with a friend the other day so I’m not surprised at the flurry of comments above

  58. I’ve not read all the comment (yet!), so I may be repeating what others have said…

    It’s funny, I was discussing this very subject with friends over dinner last night, the conclusion we came to was that, though we would love to see the very best drivers competing at the Olympics, it couldn’t be in F1 machinery.

    First of all, there’s the issue of conflicting nationalities within teams. For instance, would the proudly Italian Ferrari team wish to enable a Spaniard or a Brazilian possibly winning medals? I don’t think so; the requirements for nationality based competition – as with the Olympics – demand a different mindset than those of normal F1 competition.

    If there were to be a motorsport event in the Olympics, it would have to be either a ‘spec’ car event, or something along the lines of the annual end of season International Race of Champions, involving head to heads in a varitey of machinery.

    Personally, I’d go for the latter, but only if the very best drivers and riders (F1, Indy, NASCAR, Moto GP etc) were involved.

  59. At the end of the day, I see this debate from the other side of the fence : it’s not so much a justification for F1 being in the Olympics, it’s a solid argument for why equestrian events shouldn’t be.

    1. I can to some extent answer my own question to why equestrianism remains in the Olympics : politics.

      Check out the presidents of their international federation : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Federation_for_Equestrian_Sports#Presidents

      Notably, the current incumbent is a beautiful and elegant young lady who happens to be a princess of Jordan and wife of the constitutional monarch of Dubai (who is prime minister of the UAE).

      One of the more famous predecessors is a certain royal prankster : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh

  60. I’d ban the horses and require all power to be either human or gravitational. The goal of the Olympics is to see how far and fast the human machine can be pushed. While I am a huge fan of F1 and believe drivers are true “athletes”, its inclusion in the Olympics seems to violate a certain ethos about human potential. We do not award medals to the bicycle manufacturers, nor to the shoe company, or the swimsuit designer. Yet, in F1, the driver is but one component and rarely does a driver take sole credit for a race win. The Olympics and F1 are chalk and cheese.

  61. Isn’t the Olympics is all about the performance of Homo sapiens? I don’t believe there is a logical argument to be made that drivers are athletes, even akin to golfers or pool players, although there is definitely a fitness factor involved. I believe F1 driving is mostly mental. So why not have a physics or a math event? Or Tetris, chess, checkers,etc etc etc.—-bronx cheer.

      1. Because a horse does not require an ECU and a motor coach full of engineers to make it go fast. The horse goes fast because nature made it that way. Nature had nothing to do with the F1 car.

        1. A horse was create by cross breeding for several generations to create the right characteristics for competition. That is worse!

          1. That’s just simply an exaggeration mate. Horse breeding is very closely monitored when it comes to “cross breeding”, the simple fact is that, for example 2 Thoroughbreds are not the same…not even close. Bloodlines are chosen because of confirmation, athletic ability etc etc. “Breeds” are rarely crossed.
            Any accomplished rider will tell you that all horses feel different to ride, be they TB’s, Warmbloods, Arabian, etc etc etc….yes I am an accomplished rider LOL

              1. An Anglo-Arabian is a cross breed sure, but one that would be gelded so as to not be bred further…..get the idea? Brood Mares and Stallions are normally of one breed, then you get the cross breed. The practice protects breeds….
                Anyway, this is not the point I was trying to make: Horse RACING is not an Olympic Sport. Equestrian sports are much more about the RIDER than the horse. Most of the horses at Grand Prix/Olympic level are of a very similar caliber. Do you really think that show jumping or dressage or 3 day eventing are all about the horses?
                Also, when it comes down to it, Equestrian sports in the modern Olympics are more a reflection of historical value. They were introduced in PARIS in 1900.

    1. Mostly mental? Have you ever looked into the physical aspects of driving an F1 car. These drivers train as hard or harder than nearly all Olympic competitors. Most F1 drivers can do triathlons…that is how fit they are. They are indeed world class athletes…not just drivers. And they have to be this fit, because if they weren’t, they’d last 10 laps if that.

  62. And the gold medal for best F1 TV broadcast ——- goes to Hungary! (or not depending on your point of view).

  63. I rather like the fact F1 isn’t in the Olympics, in the same way I like the fact proper, full-strength football, rugby, MOTO GP, baseball, cricket and all the other really popular sports aren’t in there.

    The Olympics are when other sports get their day in the sun. Synchronised diving, slalom canoeing, gymnastics, athletics and all the rest never command global TV audiences in the way F1 or football do.

    I’m not against having motor racing in the Olympics, though. Maybe for drivers in equal cars (GP2?), provided drivers were under the age of 21 (like football), and possessed a superlicence.

    I think a street race, run along those lines, might be quite something.

  64. Not sure F1 should be in the olympics for boring reasons like the differing sponsor makeup and the barriers to entry. (It is a closed shop after all)

    But single seater motor racing could be included.

    Any nation should be able to field two drivers, equal machinery (presumably BMWs with Adidas tyres and Samsung ECUs) and bob’s your uncle.

    Then a series of qualifying sprint races leading to a couple of feature races.

  65. I think if Shooting can be an Olympic Sport, so can F1. Formula One drivers are much more athletic than a shooter is during competition. And a shooter uses a gun as a tool in the competition, just as a driver uses a car as a tool. The Formula One driver is sweating a lot more, I gurantee it. I bet their breathing is far more intense as well. Sailing? A boat? You can have Olympic sailing and not Olympic driving? I don’t get it. In fact, when you look at the facts… why in the world is F1 not ALREADY an Olympic sport.

  66. Would love to see this done but not with spec F1 cars or GP2 type cars. Do with either wingless formula fords with 1.6l 4 cylinders or Karts. How can you get the ball rolling on this for 2016, Joe? An event like this would be tremendous. You can have the sprint race, which would be all out banzai run. Maybe a time trial challenge….fastest lap vs your competitor advances up the ladder. Then you can have a regular race. Then you have a team aspect of an enduro race….6 hour event. There seems to be multiple directions one can go. What a great idea you have Joe….this needs to be done.

  67. “I think that Formula 1 should be included in the Olympic Games, and I cannot see any real reason that justifies its exclusion.”

    The reason is that your activities have to powered by yourself (running, cycling, etc) or nature (sailing, bobsled, skijumping).
    So unless you want pedal powered F1 cars you are out of luck.

    In 1908 there was an exception to this when a motorboating event was part of the Olympics.

    Here is a criteria for the 1904/08 Olympics.

    1) The event should be international in scope, allowing entries from all nations.
    2) No handicap events should be allowed.
    3) The entries must be open for all competitors, meaning that limitations based on age, religion, national origin, etc. should not be allowed
    4) No events based on motorized transport should be allowed.
    5) The events should be open only to amateurs.

    It seems that (5) has been dropped in recent years, almost certainly do with sponsorship paying for the Olympic Games.

    (2) has been addressed by the Paralympic Games.

    “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.”

    This is probably the most shocking jump in logic I’ve seen in your blog over the years I’ve been reading it. Very poor logic. Very poor indeed.

    Soccer is not an Olympic sport. Football is an Olympic sport. Terminology is important. Want proof? http://www.olympic.org/football

    Dressage is not elitism. Anyone can do it. You don’t need a fancy horse for dressage. I should know. I’ve done dressage (not at competition level) and
    I’m just a bloke that learned to ride because my sister taught me. I then had lessons and they ran out of things to teach me, so taught me some basic dressage.

    1. You obviously don’t know much about dressage. Wealthy people can buy horses that will take them to a competitive level, instantly. The rest of your arguments seem to be muddled and rather blinkered. Look at the Olympics as it is, not at rules 100 years old.

      1. You make dressage sound so easy, as you do all equestrian disciplines…..Do you remember how Christopher Reeve was paralyzed? He was ….bought a very expensive horse and was, unfortunately not a very good rider. He was ridiculed at all the A level shows here in California as a “wannabee” with a lot of money but very little talent. “Dangerous” people called it. So one day at a cross country event, he approached a solid jump (as they normally are in a x country..) he missed the distance totally, didn’t know what to do…his horse saved itself but inexperienced Chris was unable to stay with his horse over the jump and fell, with the horse crushing him on the other side……..so, “Wealthy people can buy horses that will take them to a competitive level, instantly”……correct in a sense, but not in reality.

  68. The more I think about this the more attractive it seems, slightly tweaked from Joe’s original suggestion.

    Motorsport, not F1, should be what we push to be included in the Olympics. All disciplines need to be catered for, from open wheel through sportscars, rallying, touring cars, even bikes.

    What would be better than seeing drivers from different disciplines trying to compete against each other? Not only would a level playing field in a particular discipline help show up the best driver but you could return to times past when drivers didn’t stick to one category and did show how flexible their skills were.

  69. I like the idea, no, I love the general idea, but I disagree that F1 is the series to bolt-into the Olympic frame. For plenty of reasons least of all regulations, money, sponsorship conflicts, money, reliance on technology, and above all, money.

    Ideally, some other form of motorsport certainly make far better sense β€” sportscars, rally or karting to me fit the mold. Karting makes the most sense, would create the purest racing, and the most level competition. That, and just about every guy in the F1 paddock would likely jump at the chance to race a kart around a track for his country and a bit of metal to sling around his or her neck.

    While were at it, why not have snowmobile racing at the winter games?

    Thanks for all you do, Joe!

  70. Well, a car’s just a piece of equipment built to a tight set of regulations, and an F1 driver signs up to use a particular manufacturer’s one. Just like a tennis player or pole vaulter, or a triathlete with their wetsuit, bike and running shoes.

    If there’s a problem among the tree-huggers with it being the only Olympic sport with an engine, they could always use pedal karts, for kids. I’d pay good money to see Alonso, Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Schumacher and the rest in those.

  71. Joe, I didn’t know you had Bernie writing guest articles for you!

    Joking aside, I just have some random comments.

    -The commercial aspect, outlined above by others, would preclude an existing GP from being considered a remote event of the games.

    -It would be amazing to see the cars in pure country colours again. I always liked the Belgian Ferraris in bright yellow. As unfortunate as the circumstances were around the 2001 Italian GP, I did love the all-red Ferrari (minus the black nose-cone). I remember Peter Sauber mentioning that BMW still preferred to run their cars mostly in white, as that is the original German colour for motorsport. Of course, rather than the typically simple designs, I would likely be disappointed by an almost certain decision to “modernize” the designs and have all sorts of patterns to make the cars look more “edgy” than classic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_international_auto_racing_colors

    -From a competition standpoint, you would need stricter regulations for the cars, one that puts the skill more in the hands of the driver. Part of the skill for equestrian events is training the horse and working with the horse – engineering a car isn’t quite the same. It would not be fair to have a Ferrari chassis with 25% more downforce than an HRT, or a Mercedes engine with 25 more horsepower than a Cosworth. Realistically, it would make more sense to contract Dallara, Ferrari or some other manufacturer to base a design off of a previous car, perhaps two or three years old (as not to also interfere with testing regulations for F1), whereby they would provide each of the cars, funded by each nation. This assumes we want to go along the route of a F1-based Olympic motorsport event.

    -Realistically, an F1-based Olympic event would definitely target only F1 drivers, with perhaps a slight outside shot for a few IndyCar, LMP or maybe DTM drivers to have chance. A more fair competition would be to select some sort of road-based sports cars for a one-make competition, such as the Ferrari FXX, Lamborghinis, or existing one-make series cars such as Porsche 911 Cup cars (lots of those around) or Ferrari 458s. Expanding to a multi-discipline event would just drastically increase the costs associated, as now you would have to fund F1 cars, GT cars and even rally cars. GT cars would probably be the fairest, and also considerably cheaper. Basically it could be like the old Procar series or the IROC series when Mark Donahue convinced them to run 911 RSRs. The playing field would be much more level for anyone from Schumacher to Loeb to Kristensen to Earnhardt to take part in such an event (side note: my spell check only recognized the fourth name in that list… interesting).

    -Cost is another factor. While we all know an F1 car would trounce any road car with total ease, the average Olympic fan would be just as excited to see a bunch of Paganis, Lambos, Ferraris or other supercars fighting closely. Given that, why make the cost of entry in the millions (or tens of millions) for a single event when you could buy a supercar (or modest FIA GT3 car) for considerably less? You would want several countries to take part, not just four or five.

  72. Racing in the Olympics? Sure, but not F1. For one thing, you’d never get all those F1 sponsors past the Olympics’ TOP partners. For another, you’re really limiting the talent pool not to mention the potential for all kinds of great ‘human interest’ stories. Karting, on the other hand, would be perfect, and would bring out the stars from other forms of motorsport plus rising talent from all over. Bigger fields, too…

      1. and they became paranoid ever since Atlanta. I knew guys doing the so called “guerilla” marketing – which was just buying billboards at the time. The IOC get laws made wherever they go now . . even Bernie had to ask for his Bernie back . .

      2. Of course there is. I meant direct conflicts between F1 sponsors and top-level Olympic sponsors, e.g. Unilever v. P&G, LG v. Samsung, Shell v. BP, etc based on the Coke v. Pepsi hassle at the Olympics this year. Maybe Michael Payne could sort it all out, though…

  73. Good discussion Joe, but what about how F1 employees might feel about this? Where/how would it fit into the schedule? I know it’s only once every 4 years but 20 GPs to prep for is gruelling enough as it is.

  74. Joe have you not seen ANY off the overage regarding athlete sponsorship blackouts demanded by IOC?

    This isn’t just in respect of clashes of sponsors… but a blanket ban.

    You think the teams or Bernie would comply with that… or the IOC allow teams to carry their regular branding?

    The idea simply flies in the face of either sport’s business interests/economic structure governing body/leaseholders interests.

    1. I got pulled for walking iaccross the canoe park with a plastic TK Max bag which had a change of clothes in.. The place wasn’t even open for punters

    1. Good point. The Olympics doesn’t need it at all. Don’t we get 20 races a year now? As Joe said I think the best that could be done would be calling the Hungarian GP the “Olympic GP” or something and giving medals too…of course it would be very fake…….

  75. Hey Joe,

    Interesting points but I think there are a few items that will need to be considered. Firstly is there enough machinery for all the countries that want to compete? Secondly is there enough countries that have qualified racers? We have recently seen the awful consequences of letting good but inexperienced racers behind the wheel if an f1 machine.

    If there was to be motor sports in the Olympics then it would not be f1, more likely rally or something similar to nascar or touring car. More drivers, more nations, and crucially smallest teams (f1 travel with an entourage of what 40) the Olympics are too large in numbers already. The last thing they want is another large team – I do 20 people dragon boat canoeing and that is one of the reasons it will never be allowed into the Olympics even though it satisfies every other criteria.

    Sorry to spoil things but Olympics for f1 is a pipe dream. As always Bernie is a master of getting publicity. Oh last thing cost of building the circuit would make it prohibitive.

      1. Sorry Joe, look at this site – ‘Nambian Horse’ on the web. Obviously the man from Namibia can. You just knew that some clever sod would find this, didn’t you? Here I am!

      2. I think you are just having a little amusement with us on this one m8.
        Good one!

          1. Let me tell you something about horses….a horse which is trained in Grand Prix, whether it’s Dressage or Show Jumping, is MORE difficult to handle for an average rider than a less athletic horse. It’s a common misconception in the horse world amongst the wealthy that they can buy a VERY athletic horse, capable of jumping 6ft fences and expect to be able to ride to the horse’s potential. Unfortunately most of these people wind up failing and end up with a horse more suited to their level. As I mentioned earlier, Chris Reeve was one of those “wannabee’s” with more money than sense.
            I do feel that your knowledge of horses isn’t as good as you think, no offense meant.

            1. If you are an expert in horses, which you seem to intimate, you will know what a schoolmaster is. If you do not know what a schoolmaster is, then you are not an expert equestrian.

              If you go out and buy a highly-strung dressage horse and handle it clumsily then I agree with you, you will end up on your head, but if you have the money to buy a Grand Prix schoolmaster, you will go a long way.

  76. Arguing that F1 should be in the Olympics is like saying that the Barclay’s Premier League should be in the Olympics. I assume you mean motorsport using single-seat winged cars should be in the Olympics. Perhaps something that doesn’t limit the field by requiring a superlicense.

    I would like to see some form of motorsport in the Olympics. We’ve already got modern machinery in the form of rifles (and just look at the technology in those swimming suits). I guess the only thing that would be new is artificial propulsion in a racing event. Up to now it’s been through manpower, wind, or gravity (there isn’t any horse RACING, is there?).

    1. “Perhaps something that doesn’t limit the field by requiring a superlicense”

      Lol -Imagine a rookie “Cool Runnings” style Jamaican team with starting from last and wrecking the entire field

      And then – which of the professional F1 drivers would be allowed to turn up to a non championship event during the F1 season? Not many I would think.

      And the cost – They don’t even use real gold in the Olympics because it would cost $13 million – you’d probably need $1.3 billion to field enough F1 cars for all the countries wanting to take part. (Teams certainly wouldn’t supply their own cars – they’d have to be spec racers)
      If F1 was in the Olympics – I for one would be moving to a small country with no motorsports and nominating myself as the F1 entry quick smart.
      Qualifications? I race club level karting – Now give me my F1 πŸ™‚

      Well pot stirred Joe – convincing the public that motorsport is a sport is about as likely as convincing F1 fans that Nascar is better.

      1. Also – the need for an equivalent Paralympic event might pose a hurdle

        Blind F1?
        One armed driver? (I have been amazed by a 1 armed karter before – good luck with a 1 arm F1 driver)

      2. Cool Runnings is a film I make a point of watching at least once a year.

        IMO the best way to get over a lousy day at the office / row / bad mood.

        This is obviously a tall story, but my dad would repeat it regularly: a guy gets told he has only so long to live, so says “f it” and kicks back with every funny movie he can get to see. Man miraculously gets better.

        As it happens, I found that plan very helpful when acutely unwell a little while ago, and there are studies out there that virtual worlds (maybe not as good as PIXAR, but immersive VR) have positive benefits for recovery from serious injury and pain.

        Flip side to this is sadly, yet again, we are advancing medicine because we are sending young men in the way of serious trauma.

        Massive respect to Paul for such an excellent movie ref!

  77. How about allowing f1 drivers to enter other disciplines in the Olympics. Inspired by Nasser Al-Attiyah, 2011 dakar winner, who won a bronze medal at London in the shooting.

  78. This discussion has been extremely egocentric in that it has (as far as I can see) not yet acknowledged that the best combination of motor vehicle/physical skill is probably to be found in motocross. Heaven alone knows how they balance/fly/manhandle those machines at the speeds they do. I also have no idea how a lunatic like Casey Stoner can stand upright on a GP bike that is balanced on its rear wheel at 100 mph while crossing the finishing line (!).

    F1 is a supreme challenge akin to flying a fighter jet 2-inches from the ground, but I doubt that even Mark Webber will last 10 laps on a motocross bike?

    1. That’s like wondering if Paula Radcliffe can row or powerlift.

      Webber wouldn’t last ten race-pace laps on a motocross bike in the same way that no motocross rider would be able to take the neck strain imposed on an F1 driver for ten laps either.

      I’m inclined to agree in principle however – to my limited understanding, motocross is less equipment-reliant than F1, entry costs are much lower and the physical effort of the competitor is much more visible to spectators.

  79. I see no reason why motor racing could not be an Olympic event; however, I would question whether F1 is the ideal branch of the sport for ultimately there is a wide disparity between cars that could never be fully overcome. Whilst I accept that success in some sports, such as equine events, are in part as a result of, for want of a better word, strategy (e.g. selective breeding). Any nation could therefore theoretically become a world beater.

    Using F1, Olympic success would be reliant upon a relatively few drivers being within one of a handfull of cars, which may be of a different nationality to the driver. This goes against the country v. country ethos of the Olympics and would also be something of a ‘closed shop’.

    Instead, I feel that the use of a single make car (such as GP2, F2, F3, Auto GP – the list is practically endless) would overcome the problem. The running of the cars could be undertaken by a number of junior formula teams, such as Arden, Carlin or Super Nova – potentially allocated at random to each team. This approach would ensure a degree of inclusivity, provide a quick enough car an still provide scope for a good car set up to influence things. It may also provide commerical opportunities to the IOC in terms of having an official engine supplier/tyre manufacturer, etc.

    Eligibility of drivers could be governed by ensuring drivers have attained a particular level of licence, which would ensure that no driver is a complete rookie, which may be unsafe. Depending on numbers, there could be repechage format, leading up to a grand final; much like the heyday of the Formula Ford Festival.

    I don’t see any issues with having races outside of the host city; afterall Weymouth (which is holding the sailing events) is, by my reckoning over 100 miles from London. Furthermore, not only is there the instance of the equine events from the ’56 games taking place in Sweden, but I believe that some sailing events from the 1920 games (which took place in Antwerp) were held in Holland. As such, a circuit in the same broad geographical area would suffice. Although in the case of of London, there would be a number of circults closer to home that would be sufficient.

  80. You are a true sh#t disturber!!!!! Its been nice to read you the past year. Hope to see you someday on the other side.

  81. I think the only Sporting governing body (now I’m trying to choose my words very carefully here) more bureaucratic, overbearing and disassociated from the fans than F1 is probably the Olympics! Let’s not give Bernie more ideas!

    Besides I think the Olympics is more Nascar surely, tedious and over hyped?

  82. I’d like to point something out which has not been mentioned: The equestrian events (Show Jumping, Dressage, 3 Day Eventing) are scored very differently to racing, not simply against the clock. Horse racing is NOT an Olympic event. Therefore I think justifying including F1 as an Olympic Sport based on a comparison with horses/horse power is WAY out there and totally irrelevant. I do still think that Go Kart racing would be cool though.

    1. You’re kidding, Roger, I hope?

      Being local they have basically blown easily 15BLN on dolling up some land that if ever broken again is a chemical hazard, prettified a few streets (and given up half way) and all the pubs and bars and takeaways on my manor are practically empty, hurting the local life. I am tempted to believe there was a minor exodus of locals I know, scared off by the hype as to security, crowding and transport. All we know about is the intrinsic costs, not the externality costs. You can measure either in many BCEs.

      When I had a funny lung / breathing problem, I asked my GP (MD in USian) as to the TB situation. (The WHO seems to have removed the files they had on their website placing the locale as a serious epidemic outbreak risk) and I got a well prepared stock answer: “it only affects a certain demographic. Yup, that being the majority demographic about here . . There have been a number of fatalities from MMDRTB in the locality. The irony of this is inedible, as Angela Burdett – Coutts and others donated land and sanitoria (and much else besides) to provide for bathing and clean air and healthy distractions precisely because this locale was such a hotbed of infections. The very same park now torn apart from its easy vistas and flowing spaces by funding related to the olympics. At least they repaired her memorial fountain, but it’s a poor gesture after decades of wanton neglect in such a well funded borough.

      I’ll skip the tin foil hat theories which abound as to militarism of security, because frankly I’d rather face a trained soldier (armed, naturally, but hopefully not with the thousand yard stare) than the insular and frankly up their own cops about this way. I do know some good ones (I live opposite the cop shop, and they eat breakfast in the same caf I like) but since the law has become such a morass, the fish rots from the head, and it has reached the tail. I might even hazard some locals went refugee because of concerns as to (more) aggressive trivial policing.

      But the cost I see is this: that governments like big distractions, big government loves QUANGOism, the IOC has instituted legal supranationalism in the cause of prostituting sport (no longer amateur either) and the supplication to that could have set a trend incompatible with free society.

      Now a crazy but positive thought:

      Long gone are the F1 privateers of old,

      but here and now is amazing levels of cockpit safety and medicine if required.

      Could we not have offshoot of F1, to same spec, that is actually amateur?

      Just a few races a year would be plenty.

      I refuse to believe that there are only 24 drivers capable of handling a F1 car.

      Let the amateurs practise as much as they can afford, say with last year’s cars, no data being fed back to amuse the big teams.

      Was not the Real Stig sponsored by his local butcher or greengrocer or something like that when he got started? I am thinking of local advertising. As a adman, big companies and brand homogeneity are not I believe a benign influence. Diversity and miscegenation have advanced society and science and I feel we are on a backward trend. (Plus I have less customers to play with, it is so much more dull lately)*

      My point being, the USP of the olympics is supposed to be amateur excellence. I think they’re tapped out mostly as to that, with a few rare examples. But I believe the interest in seeing a amateur sub-series race would be massive. Imagine if each track in each country with a F1 history could run a race with mostly locals, plus the best of earlier races?

      *I am a copyright hawk, because my bread has always been buttered on the side of authors and publishers, but this article, in the context of digital copy and distribution, is a good read: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/no-copyright-law-the-real-reason-for-germany-s-industrial-expansion-a-710976.html

      1. Interesting piece re: English vs. German publishing… but the point seems to be that it was not copyright that presented obstacles but rather too-greedy publishers… they were serving themselves and not their customers… which is generally the problem when money-things go haywire, isn’t it?

        With e-publishing, that particular kind of problem may be nothing but history (naive, I’m sure… but we can hope…)

  83. You been smoking the same stuff as Bernie when he suggested a London GP?
    As above, F1 without sponsor logos wouldnot be interested, whislt it is not an amateur sport, the best riders make enough out of horses to shop at Waitrose rather than Lidl. None of them will ever have to become tax exiles because of winnings from the sport. Bit of a straw man argument with the horse. The horse is trained by the rider (and not by a team of 1000 based in a technology park. The big advantage equestrianism has is that men and women compete on equal terms, look at the medal tables, it would be easier to bet on the country that won than the sex of the winner.

    as to “just buying a horse2, fairly true in showjumping, but not the other disciplines

      1. Talking of Olympic sponsors … ATOS who are sponsoring the Paralympic Games, and are responsible for assessing disabled people, have been criticised in a parliamentary report which said, “(ATOS) has left thousands of disabled people wrongly denied benefits.”

        Disabled campaigners are planning a week of action during the Paralympic Games at the end of August to protest at the way people claiming sickness and disability benefit are treated.

        Olympic organisers should be ashamed of themselves.

        1. They should have got the Pereval Group as a sponsor!

          (apols, they are my nemesis, and I have a slew of very interesting possible cases against them, some criminal, just personally)

          Ashamed is exactly how that IOC lot should feel.

          I think part of the image problem with F1 is not many have got used to the number inflation. Million quid for a fair family home anywhere in London? (of course that is a rigged market by the welfare state) but people do get number shock. That’ll be fun when finally we have to inflate the economy to rid the debts. But too many people look at F1 and see only money. In real terms, it’s really not a lot. (This is made far worse by the internal bickering and the perception of Bernie) I know that would be a very hard PR campaign to attempt, but it ought to be reminded more often.

      2. Check here – http://www.london2012.com/about-us/the-people-delivering-the-games/olympic-partners/ – then decide how many direct clashes of sponsors there’d be between Olympics and F1. Athletes are allowed to have (highly regulated) manufacturers logos on team clothing and equipment… but are forbidden from taking part in any promotional exercise for their own sponsors (regardless of any clashes or not) during the course of the Olympics.

        But you know that….

  84. I’ve changed my mind, an Olympic F1 Grand Prix has merit. Not that it could be called that. I do believe Olympic, F1, and Grand Prix, are names expressly forbidden from being used by anyone. Circus is available however.

    What could be more fun than watching two sets of snouts jostling over the seating arrangements at the medal ceremony? My money is on Bernie. He might insisting on the race starting at 4am local time whereas Jacques Rogge might regard Red Bull as a performance enhancing drug.

    How about a Big Brother style webcam showing us how Seb or Lewis is getting on with his olympic village room mate who happens to be .. say, a canoeist. Lewis could show him how to call his manager, assistant, or one of the many hangers-on and the canoeist could show Lewis how to .. make his own sandwiches.

    But why stop there. How about F1 team in the World Cup? Michael could be captain and Dany Bahar manager. Dany’s available at the moment. He could talk some country into adopting the entire F1 grid as their squad (about the right size) and pay for the whole exercise with future World Bank money. How does the Republic of Lotus sound? Oh wait, I think they have cancelled his passport.

    Joe, have a rest for a few weeks, and get someone to have a look at the petrol fumes leaking into your car.

  85. Joe, incidentally a member of the motor racing fraternity medalled at the games yesterday. Nasser Al-Attiyah, 2011 Dakar Rally Winner, 2006 Production WRC Champion and current Citroen WRC driver won Qatar’s first Olympic medal in 12 years by taking bronze in the Men’s Skeet-Shooting competition.

    As far as I see, motorsport’s best hope for Olympic inclusion would be an ROC-type event, but on bigger tracks.

  86. As several others have mentioned, I think the answers lie in the Race of Champions.

    Every competing country submits several drivers that go against each other in a number of events, all using the same machinery. Hell, they could even have international pit crews to test the mechanics as well as the drivers.

    Germany, Great Britain, Finland…quite a few potential countries really.

    Initially I thought your idea of an Olympics F1 event was terrible but now I’m coming around to it.

    Lobby Joe, lobby…

    1. “Hell, they could even have international pit crews to test the mechanics as well as the drivers.”

      Hang on – I’ve got it!

      Get rid of the F1 driver and race altogether – and make it a pitstop challenge.

      – Equal machinery
      – No risk of racing incidents wrecking other competitors
      – Real speed/skill test measured against the stopwatch
      – Low cost barrier for training (Doesn’t matter if its an F1 – just a rig with 4 wheels to change)
      – Low Barrier to entry (Dad at home can associate with it at home can feel that he did that at the last GP)
      – Less danger

  87. If you want something for everyone to chime in about, howsabout asking for opinion about how long Charlie Whiting should sit Maldonado down to ponder not being a rude lunatic…

    1. Would an isolation tank, some mescaline and some VR goggles repeating old timers dying in their cars be enough?

  88. Can’t see it happening, the Olympics committee have said ” the games are a contest between athletes, not engines”. There are other technologies in the Olympics (have you seen the archery sets??), but the even centers predominantly around the athlete and not the equipment. You can argue that F1 centers around the car more than the driver…

  89. Incidentally, has anyone noticed what a ghost town the city is right now, with all this olympic goings on? More comments here than people I saw on public transport yesterday at peak hours. I exaggerate, but not by much . .

    1. In Atlanta, everyone got out of town due to fear of traffic congestion (which is terrible on a good day). Many companies invented telecommuting policies for the Games. I was kicked out of my office at Georgia Tech, as it served as the temp home of Olympics officials.

      But in the end, the Olympics turned out to be the *best thing ever* for traffic congestion. It hasn’t been that easy to drive in Atlanta since then…

      1. Oh man, my best mate in London used to work in Atlanta, in the 80s, and my cous worked for Coca Cola there since the late 50’s until retirement. Urban planning must be ancient idiomatic words that somehow not translate into English!

        Yeah, been beaut for traffic here. I can even afford a taxi without feeling guilty. No jams, tons of them for hire . . .

        but then you get insane things, like they shut down the Docklands Light Railway to get across the river until 8pm today, and I am with my pal who is 80, so it’s a hike, and we’re all hungry, planning to get away from the sucker prices near the equestrian stadia. (No probs, he showed me his latest consultant report, he needs more regular cardio workout!) but still, utterly insane. Because we took his (11 year old, geez my pal is a tough guy!) daughter out, we looked at taking the river bus, for some fun. There were all these signs up, expensively produced, with the maps. Which told us zero about any route. Stuck on top of these expensively produce uninformative maps was a nice, matching style olympic graphic sticker, “Schedules and times are now different during the games”. Hard enough to guess what the prices were, conflicting info up about that too. That was one long queue going no-where. . .

        We win Gold for all forms of being totally dufus . . .

  90. Come on its a bit silly, F1 in the olympics, i love F1 as F1 not to redicle the sport as say syncronise car sliding…

  91. Joe,

    While I agree that motor sport would make a fine inclusion into the Olympics, I don’t think F1 should be an Olympic event.

    Technology (and horsepower) granted are a part of the games, but they aren’t the only story and only play a small part over the human achievements. Also one part of all sports is that the equipment the athletes use is, in theory accessible to all, regardless of your level of commitment to the sport.

    Take cycling for instance, the bikes that team GB are using are pretty much bespoke to the team, but with a reasonable outlay (roughly $23,000) you can own one of the same bikes. The same is true across all the sports where technology makes up part of the spectacle.

    While it probably would improve F1 overall, not even another team competing, let alone a weekend warrior can go buy an F1 car competing in this year’s championship. Customer cars aren’t part of the sport, every car must be bespoke, except for things such as gearbox, engine, etc.

    A Race of Champions style event or a few different styles (Rally-Cross, Gymkhana, Spec-Series circuit event, etc) would allow the drivers from all countries to show off their skills rather than a select few. Also a spec series would open another form of sponsorship for the IOC, allowing a company to become the official supplier of vehicles (Well the car company/s, tire supplier, fuel supplier, the list goes on and on) to the Olympic games, and not just be taxi suppliers for officials and competitors alike.

    A qualifying competition pre-Olympics, like football and other events use would work to weed out some of the less competitive drivers, and still open it up to both professional and amateur drivers alike.

    I still think F1 & WRC drivers would rise to the top of any Olympic sport, but it would be a lot more special for the driver that they knew they achieved Olympic gold based around their driving skill alone, and not because their team has a bigger budget and a far better designer.

    1. Some will argue that $23,000 is pretty unreasonable, but a beginner track bike can be put together for more like $1,000. It would be difficult to break world records with it, but in the hands of a top athlete it would be good enough to win races.

      By contrast, the back marker teams have been pouring money into F1 development for over three years now. Given they entered during the budget cap farce they’re probably all spending upwards of $50M per year and getting no return for it thus far. You can’t really get an F1 team on to the grid for much less.

      To give some context, GB Cycling apparently has an annual budget for all activities around the same mark, but we’re talking about a federation running cycling from the grass-roots up to dozens of Olympians chasing a dozen or more gold medals.

  92. F1, like lets say bobsledding, is a TEAM sport. In team sports like bobsledding, all members are representing said team, must be from the same country. Jamaica has a bobsled team and every member is from Jamaica. This being the case, Ferrari would have to hire a entire Italian team. Not too tough, with the exception of the driver. Mercedes, being a German team would be all set driver wise, but would have to get an entirely new team. Imagine a team of Brits in the Olympics representing Germany on the Mercedes team, wearing the German flag and battling their own country, represented by McLaren. It’s akin to a group of British POW’s forced to crew for a squadron on BF109’s going up against Spitfires in the Battle of Britain!

    Here’s a better idea: How about we bring back chariot racing with racing drivers as the chariot pilots? Quite economic to start, plus, it’s much more open for entrants from various countries. With the current F1 drivers, I think that Latin Fernando Alonzo actually looks like a chariot driver, while Button might be confused with one of the subjects destined for the Christian lion eating event. Raikkonen and Kovalainen naturally would be the Hun marauders. However additionally, you could bring in other drivers from other series as well, after all we’ve seen in recent years successful F1 drivers leave and have decent, but not stellar success elsewhere. Kurt Bush from NASCAR could provide some excellent entertainment on the track. Imagine Kurt in the chariot race with a whip in his hand and a driver next to him battling for the lead. Talk about entertainment! Lets put those spikes on the axles and let those NASCAR boys start bumping out there. Rules? There are no rules. What would Marco Andretti have to complain about now?

    Yes, bring back chariot racing indeed! Even India could enter the event with Karthikeyen, though in betting circles I’d avoid him and put my money on Alonso, Raikkonen… or for this event, one of the NASCAR guys.

  93. Formula 1 as part of the Olympics would be great…just make sure Tilke doesn’t have anything to do with the circuit!

  94. At least Hamilton would be able to keep his medal and won’t have to include that in contract negotiations. When is Hamilton going to grow up? Making whether he can keep trophies or not part of negotiations with McLaren, bit silly all, what you think Joe?

    1. I disagree – I can totally understand why a driver would want to keep his driver race trophy, after all McLaren get a trophy as winning constructor if he and they actually take the victory. If I were a driver I’d want to keep my trophies.

  95. The Olympic games are owned by the French. They dictate everything that happens in and around the games. All sports and the designated venues must relinquish full control to their whims.

    I am currently seconded to the Olympic canoe park and a IOC chap walked past this afternoon and said “I don’t like the grass in front of the podium- get it changed”

    There is now a lorry with 400sqm of turf on it’s way done from manchester for the lads to lay at first light.TINA

    This is how they control the games and with the FIA and Bernie having a similar attitude to F1 I cannot see a happy marrige

    Nor can I see an Italian team working hard for a Spanish guy to win a gold whilst they get nothing. Sponsorship logo’s must be removed. It’s a silly idea.The games should be removing these types of sport -football, tennis and next golf not adding to them,,

  96. Joe let’s take a look at the demographics of what you propose. You’re talking about sport with exactly 24 participants worldwide, from roughly 10 countries. Only a few hundred people have EVER played it. Of those who have played it, roughly 20% or 25% have died whilst doing it.

    Hmmm. I think I have a more plausible idea. Why don’t we make dogfighting in supersonic jet fighters using live ordinance an Olympic sport? Tens of thousands have participated since the advent of the discipline, from at least 70 countries. Probably half the countries currently participating in the Olympics could field a team. And a far, far smaller percentage of participants have died “playing” it than have died driving F1 cars.

  97. How genius was to left us with this subject…here we are…amusing ourselves with all this thinking, reasoning, debating and talkin about F1 and the Olympics…I think that’s what he wanted…at least there are 24 hours less to the end of the F1 break and I’m not bored….

      1. You’re dezzzzpicable!!!!!! (Daffy Duck)…but now, seriously, enjoy that much needed rest…Ás you say, life’s though and your work isn’t easy…Regards from Dominican Republic…and by the way you must try vacationing here at least once…

  98. Reality check for a moment. With all the talk of “horsepower”…what does it really mean in motor racing terms? It’s simply a measurement of power output and has nothing at all to do with horses. LMFAO

      1. A horse is a horse…2 horses are 2 horses…..”Hands” are a measurement of height. The athleticism of a horse is measured in it’s achievements/level of competition.
        Now you are just taking the piss LOL

  99. Don’t forget Betty Haig, “winner” of an Olympic Gold in 1936, driving a Sunbeam in the Olympic Rally. Paul Fearnley (I think) also covered this in Autosport recently. http://speedqueens.blogspot.ch/2011/08/betty-haig.html

    There was also the big Rally tie-in for the 68 Olympics in Mexico (hence Ford Escort Mexico) but that wasn’t really an Olympic Contest as such.

    1. Wasn’t the Mexico named for the World Cup Rally of 1970? Tied in with some football tournament or other?

  100. Just a little inflammatory post for your readers to dwell/kvell over while your away eh? Brilliant!

    I can’t believe you are serious about this.

    1. By the time I get back the Olympics will be a distant memory and the UK will be doing the washing-up

      1. Does the fact that your travel for a living influence how you spend your August? Do you cherish having a month at home, or do you head off to some other place?

  101. Honestly Joe, I don’t think it should be. Motorsport in some way would be fun(karting perhaps) but really, I don’t think any should be in there.

    Saying that, I don’t think equestrian events should be really, and motorsport has much stronger claim than dressage for instance.

    The Olympics for me should be about human effort, the person should have to physically make any vehicle move (e.g. a push bike or a rowing boat). Sailing’s a little bit a grey area for me too.

  102. Sorry if this was already posted by someone else, however why not award a medal for the driver and a medal for the manufacturer – example Alonso wins whatever format is used, so Alonso gets the gold medal representing Spain and Ferrari gets a gold medal representing Italy ? That is the easy part – determining a format to use is the tough part.

  103. No F1 – my reasoning is that the Olympics should be the pinnacle of your sport. Lewis Hamilton would not want to win a gold medal over a F1 championship. Same as why tennis or football/soccer should not be in it (or any basketball player that plays in the NBA). And F1 is not the only form of motorsport – you would need to have representation from all motorsport – F1, Sportscars, Rallying, Indycar, NASCAR. So who would represent Britain? The obvious is Lewis and Jenson, but Allan McNish and Dario Franchitti have as much claim to be there as the F1 drivers do. F1 should just deal with the fact that attention is elsewhere this couple of weeks.

  104. Racing a Red Bull against a HRT would be like putting a thoroughbred against a Clydesdale. Formula Ford might be an apporpriate race for the olympics, but F1, a laughable suggestion…. that said, I’d probably watch the equestrian if they used Clydesdales.

  105. There is realy more chance of a Grand Prix of Didcot than F1 being an Olympic sport….
    I agree with ideas about a race of champions type of event or something in less than GP2 cars (like F3/F Renault 2.0/ F2) but i can’t see F1 drivers being interested unless it offered a variation like the ROC.
    There are more important things to work on, like the Grand Prix’s of Caracas and Nigeria, before we set up F1 as an Olympic sport.

  106. – maybe, whatever the β€˜reasonsβ€˜ for not including motorboat again after 1908, that still rules in the present regarding any motor sport.

    – it seems running a race out of the olympiad host country, just relating them in time would become one big obstacle and feed oposition to the inclusion of F1 in the Games. Seems should be essential to run the event in the country of the chosen host city (like is done with sailing). The 1956 example of the equestrian events perhaps too much of an exception, for was accidental.

    – also think the importance of crew, mechanics and engineers in the F1 racing is so big and intense will not fit well within the olympic sports context.
    I suppose that too is one reason why the suggestions of utilizing a standard and lesser categorie of cars, like F-Ford, F3 or GP2.

    – if somehow a motor sport competition come to be accepted, and since making use of a judgement panel format for awarding winning and classification, like in gymnastics f. ex., then there is the strong possibility of Drift being chosen…

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