Dou­glas signs Aussie Ran­dle for BRDC F4 WANT THE LAT­EST UP­DATES? FOL­LOW US ON TWIT­TER

Com­pre­hen­sive mo­tor­sport in­sur­ance prod­ucts to keep you on track;

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Aus­tralian star Thomas Ran­dle will drive for Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport in BRDC For­mula 4 this year.

The 19-year-old fin­ished se­cond in the Aus­tralian F4 se­ries last sea­son, but has pre­vi­ously raced in Bri­tain when he com­peted in the Bri­tish Su­per One kart­ing se­ries. He also took part in the fi­nal round of the Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries this win­ter.

“I am ab­so­lutely thrilled to be team­ing up with Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport,” said Ran­dle. “The new Tatuus car with Cos­worth en­gine for 2016 looks very quick and, hav­ing seen Dou­glas’ re­sults in the Au­tumn Tro­phy, I have the con­fi­dence that we can be quite strong in our cham­pi­onship as­sault.”

Team prin­ci­pal Wayne Dou­glas added: “We have been keep­ing an eye on him for a cou­ple of years. I think he will be a good lit­tle ped­aller and he has been com­pet­i­tive out in Aus­tralia and he did well in TRS – he was only a cou­ple of tenths off Lando Nor­ris. We’re de­lighted to have him.”

In the mod­ern world of mo­tor­sport, a so­cial me­dia pres­ence is es­sen­tial. It is not only a means for a driver to con­nect with their fans and sup­port­ers, it is also a vi­tal tool when it comes to show­ing po­ten­tial spon­sors how pop­u­lar you are.

But there is a darker side to it, and that has re­cently been high­lighted by the sport’s na­tional gov­ern­ing body, the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion. It has is­sued a state­ment say­ing that it will take any cases of abuse on so­cial me­dia very se­ri­ously.

This has come about be­cause of a case re­gard­ing an eight-year-old karter, who was in­volved in a con­tro­ver­sial clash dur­ing a race.

The in­ci­dent was dealt with by the of­fi­cials at the track, but there was sub­se­quently a sus­tained cam­paign, started by the par­ent of an­other racer, on so­cial me­dia which vil­i­fied the karter in ques­tion. It was a very ugly sit­u­a­tion and one that has led the gov­ern­ing body to in­ter­vene.

Com­mon sense would dic­tate that th­ese spats should not be played out in pub­lic, and cer­tainly not when they in­volve younger rac­ers. But some peo­ple sim­ply can­not help them­selves, which is why the MSA guid­ance has been put in place.

Face­book and Twit­ter are use­ful tools to check out what a driver or team is up to. But they are dan­ger­ous places as a sound­ing board, and some peo­ple don’t seem to be to­tally aware of the dam­age they can do.

They are pub­lic fo­rums and the mes­sages sent are pub­lished to a large num­ber of peo­ple. Mes­sages aren’t only sent to the per­son con­cerned, but they are seen by all of those peo­ple’s fol­low­ers. Those thoughts are, in the eyes of the law, pub­lished and that is what peo­ple need to be aware of.

Even some very fa­mous driv­ers, those who you would think know bet­ter, are able to fall in to this trap. Sev­eral Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship driv­ers have Twit­ter ac­counts that beg­gar be­lief when you read some of the com­ments put on them af­ter a race week­end.

It is hardly a tool for good when all it does is al­low spur of the mo­ment rants about other com­peti­tors. They are cer­tainly not the mes­sages that fans or back­ers want to see made pub­lic and do noth­ing to en­hance the im­age of the peo­ple in­volved.

The fact that the MSA has taken this is­sue so se­ri­ously should make all those who use so­cial me­dia think twice.

Yes, it can be a power for good, but it can also be ex­tremely dam­ag­ing if used in­cor­rectly.

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MSA chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Jones takes a hard line

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