What's happening to motorsport nowadays?

By Praveen Kumar S Published on Jun 20, 2018 09:43 AM IST

Motorsports, the world of speed, craze, rivalry, glamour and, most importantly, passion for cars and for the sport itself, is witnessing a shift in recent times. The parameters that I've mentioned above are changing and changing for the worse.

You see, when it comes to racing, it is about creating the best machine possible by throwing the ordinary our of the box altogether. That is how carbonfibre, centre locking wheels, aero enhancements reducing drag and many other aspects came into being. The quest for weight reduction has been one of the main goals and the methods found by racing teams run by manufacturers can be seen on cars that you and I buy.

It is the quest to be the best in motorsport that gave manufacturers the opportunity to stand alone. They found new stuff, brought it down the pipeline into their new top-of-the-line cars and used their marketing teams well to make a name out of it. It was due to motor racing that Audi's Quattro is now a renowned name the world over.

But suddenly, environmentalists had a poke at racing and said the cars were polluting a lot and they succeeded in making the rule makers bow in front of them. We saw diesel hybrids in racing, something that the world would not have dreamt of. Certainly I did not.

Then they said Formula 1 cars are too light, so F1 bosses added weight. They said the cars are too loud and so the F1 bosses reduced the noise. Now, F1 cars, deemed to be the most advanced machines to have ever surfaced on this mighty blue planet, are no different to Indycars. They are so heavy that they are pathetic. Certainly, I would like to see the 80s cars back to add some drama back to the sport.

I was quite relieved when I came to know that the endurance racing series was unaffected by this nonsense, apart from using diesel engines in some cars. But that, too, is about to change altogether.

The new rule released by the FIA and the ACO have confirmed that from 2020 the WEC's top LMP1 class will be replaced by a formula for hybrid 'hypercars'. Why? because they believe racing cars are so different from road cars nowadays that they ought to set things right.

So, rather than change the road cars in terms of powertrain, safety and other factors like improve roads and highways, which is difficult for them to do because it will consume a lot of money and time, they have turned their focus towards making race cars look more like road cars. In doing so, the bosses at the top step of racing have robbed the essence of the sport in itself.

Do you possibly think that millions of people watch races just to see men going round and round the same track for hours? They come to see their bravery.

They come to see riders and drivers fighting it out on the track wheel-to-wheel at more than 200mph. They come to see the advancements made by the racing teams hoping that one day, like carbon fibre tubs and automatic gearboxes that can shift gears much faster than we can blink, feature in the cars that they own.

If you reduce growth in the name of sanity then I think the very existence of racing is being overlooked. If racing cars have to be like road cars, then they are flawed in the first place and they have limitations and racing teams will be forced to adapt to the cars rather than build the best machine possible.

Let me put it this way. Would you want to buy an old house and alter it to your specifications, convincing yourself that it'll do or would you build a new house according to how you want it in the best way you can? In racing, 'that'll do' never cuts the mark.