Formula 1
Formula 1
29 Aug
-
01 Sep
Event finished
05 Sep
-
08 Sep
Event finished
19 Sep
-
22 Sep
Event finished
26 Sep
-
29 Sep
Event finished
10 Oct
-
13 Oct
Event finished
Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

The Biggest threat to F1 and motorsport is not cost or the environment, its..

shares
comments
The Biggest threat to F1 and motorsport is not cost or the environment, its..
Jun 23, 2016, 6:47 PM

The FIA Sport Conference 2016 closed in Turin today with a chilling reminder that motorsport faces many threats, but arguably the biggest comes fro...

The FIA Sport Conference 2016 closed in Turin today with a chilling reminder that motorsport faces many threats, but arguably the biggest comes from the rise of autonomous road vehicles, which could turn it into a niche sport at best.

Picking up on a theme raised by four times F1 world champion Alain Prost on Wednesday, WEC and Formula E star Lucas di Grassi said that as people become less used to having a steering wheel in their hands, the desire to compete in cars will diminish and he argues that even the role of the driver is under serious threat.

"The problem we face in motorsport, is autonomous vehicles," he said. "There are two very important components on the autonomous vehicles for the future. First, people in general will lack the experience of driving – I have younger cousins [who] don’t want to take their driving licenses anymore. If you don’t drive, you don’t get the feeling and the passion for motorsport.

Lucas di Grassi

"Although motorsport will still exist, I think because less people will drive in general, it will become more of a niche sport than a mass sport as it [was] when F1 reached its peak in the 1990s and 2000s."

With steering-by-wire technology now following brake-by-wire and throttle-by-wire onto cars it means that machines will soon be able to drive a car better than a driver can. If a driver turns into a bend too sharply the SBW will kick in to reduce the slip angle and maintain the tyres and aerodynamics at an optimum level.

As in Formula 1 in 1993 when the FIA, then led by Max Mosley, had to step in and ban Active Suspension, ABS, automatic gearboxes and traction control, with the now infamous "driver must drive alone and unaided" clause in the regulations, the wider motorsport community needs to hand the sport and the cars back to the drivers, to ensure it remains a sport and does not lose its appeal to fans.

XPB

"Nowadays, especially in Le Mans, you see technology being more important than the driver," he said. "No race driver wants that. Motorsport is about who is the best driver on the racetrack, not who has the best technology. Of course it is also about the car manufacturers and the technology, but the technology on autonomous vehicles will be separated from a racing driver because you don’t need a driver to operate this technology and where the industry is going.

"So I think for the future we will [need to] get a clear split between which technology the manufacturers are putting into racetracks and how we can make motorsport a more driver-related sport and the driver becomes more important than the machine, which is what we want to see."

The final panel discussion featured some interesting visions of the future of motorsport, with a leading gaming specialist and the head of sport from You Tube both observing that, while motorsport has many great assets and huge potential, it lags behind other sports in their areas.

What do you think the future of motorsport looks like? Leave your comment below

Next article
Prost labels F1 television coverage "a disaster"

Previous article

Prost labels F1 television coverage "a disaster"

Next article

Opinion: Why Hamilton's Baku blunders could cost him title

Opinion: Why Hamilton's Baku blunders could cost him title
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Tags innovation