“Brexit will be felt in Bri­tish mo­tor­sport”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - ROB LAD­BROOK

These pages are no place for main­stream po­lit­i­cal de­bate. Which­ever way you voted, and which­ever be­liefs you hold, we have a ver­dict and a way for­ward that we all have to pull to­gether with. But, at the mo­ment, it is a rather un­cer­tain road.

No­body can ac­cu­rately pre­dict what the next few weeks, months and years will bring should Bri­tain go ahead and exit the Euro­pean Union, ei­ther en­tirely or par­tially.

Re­gard­less, the ef­fects will be felt within Bri­tain’s boom­ing mo­tor­sport in­dus­try, whether they be pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive.

Bri­tain is a ma­jor player in global mo­tor­sport. Think of your favourite cur­rent rac­ing car – chances are that a part of it is Bri­tish. From NASCAR to Indycar, Le Mans Pro­to­types to For­mula E – Bri­tish com­po­nents, elec­tri­cal and data sys­tems, gear­boxes and en­gines can be found around the globe.

It is a con­sid­er­able part of our econ­omy, and one of our prime ex­ports.

As a rule of thumb, there will al­ways be de­mand for mo­tor­sport. There will al­ways be rich peo­ple some­where, and there will al­ways be a love for rac­ing, in what­ever form it takes. Cur­rently seven of the 11 For­mula 1 teams call these isles their home, as does the hun­dreds of fab­ri­ca­tion, de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies that sup­ply them.

But mo­tor­sport is a global busi­ness, and that goes for the pro­duc­tion as well as the us­age.

Bri­tish en­gi­neers are among the best in the world, but our firms have not been scared to go out and find the best tal­ent other coun­tries have to of­fer, bring them to the UK and in­te­grate them to help make Bri­tish mo­tor­sport en­gi­neer­ing defini­tively the best around.

Should Bri­tain adopt a com­pletely closed-off ap­proach from the EU, that could stem the tide of tal­ent from over­seas, which could be po­ten­tially harm­ful should we not have enough of our own world-beat­ers in the pipe­line to main­tain the qual­ity and ser­vice that has earned our rep­u­ta­tion in this field.

Then there’s the gate­way ar­gu­ment. Many firms see Bri­tain as an ideal en­try point into Euro­pean trad­ing. That’s why we have megabrands such as Nis­san, Toy­ota and Honda pro­duc­ing cars here. Leave en­tirely, and so could they.

Re­ces­sion and mo­tor­sport are not com­fort­able bed­fel­lows, see 2008 for a prime ex­am­ple, but that case also proves the in­dus­try can sur­vive tough times and thrive fol­low­ing them.

There are of course many pos­si­bil­i­ties that can be opened up with trade across the globe with­out the EU con­straints, par­tic­u­larly with Amer­ica and the Far East. There are sys­tems such as ad­di­tional busi­ness fund­ing for home-grown com­pa­nies and projects.

Chances are it will take some years to find out if Brexit truly is the right way for­ward, or whether it is a colos­sal mis­guid­ance. But chances are mo­tor­sport will en­dure and still be there at the end of it all.

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