Outcomes in motorsport are often determined by little things. A fifty cent bonnet pin. The nut that keeps a wheel in place. An nth of a second in pit lane or through a corner complex. These small things determine championships.

A very small thing has brought our sport almost to a complete halt. The SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus. So small it can only be indirectly seen using an electron microscope.

In addition to the usual months of planning, strategies for managing the coronavirus at the opening F1 race in Melbourne were developed. Meetings were held to ensure that everything that could be done was in place. The support category cars hit the track for practice, qualifying and one race on the 12th and the next day the Australian Formula One Grand Prix was canceled. The sense of deflation, of all that preparation for no event, was palpable. Thereafter sporting codes rapidly began to shut down as the reality of the Covid-19 disease manifested itself. 

Sport unites us, gives us something to belong to and provides an outlet and something to focus on outside of work. It is something we can engage in for enjoyment and for a lucky few it is a career. And this is now on hold.

However, it is often how we respond, not how we feel cheated; how we find ways to contribute, that drives how we react and interpret the impact of events upon our lives. Motorsport has a role to play in this. And it is already responding.

Screenshot from a Google search

Social distancing restrictions may limit on track activity and prevent spectator attendance but sim racing provides a platform, albeit a less physical one, to continue series. F1, NASCAR, IndyCar, the Australian ARG and the Australian Supercars are all running calendars as a virtual racing series, providing much needed distraction during difficult times. 

It would be encouraging to think that the funds generated out of these e-series were being used at least in part to support socially responsible schemes. After all, motorsport like any sport needs community investment to remain viable.

In the first instance, there are no doubt many people working in the motorsport industry who's incomes have evaporated. They have supported the industry. The industry, where it can, should now support them.

And what if a portion of the funds generated can be put towards addressing critical issues such as the short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, cleaning staff and catering staff who are looking after the exponentially growing population of Covid-19 patients?

What if a portion of the revenue can be put towards researching viable therapies for those who become sick.

There are other ways that the motorsport industry can help. Already F1 and Australian Supercars manufacturers are exploring ways to modify their parts factories to be able to produce essential health care equipment such as ventilator parts and barrier solutions. Motorsport teams have great experience in efficiently managing supply chain logistics and efficient workflow patterns. Now might be a good time to bring those skills to health care systems that are already, or are about to be, struggling with high demand, high stakes, dwindling resources and eroding morale.

Motorsport may be on hold for a while but this will end. We want to race; we always have and we will again. There is much that motorsport can offer in the meantime. There is hope.


Coronavirus statistics

Race series running sim racing calendars

Manufacturers using their production skills