Yup, you read that correctly. F1-Insider.com is reporting that FIA’s Lars Osterlind could be pushing a plan to get Auto Racing into the Olympics. In 2010 FIA president Jean Todt lead a movement to get the FIA recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 2013, Todt’s efforts were rewarded with full recognition of the FIA by the IOC.
The cars in question? The German publication is reporting that Formula E cars would be the likely choice. Gregson did a great piece on the potential of Formula E which recently concluded its first season and was more successful/entertaining then I ever thought possible. The cars weren’t as boring as I expected and the racing was phenomenal.
1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is bullish on the success of Olympic Auto Racing.
“I would immediately take part in the Olympic Games, and I think everyone else would think the same.”
Combining good racing with the appeal of a gold medal could entice more drivers to drive for the honor of their countries.
The question is, would this form of racing work in the Olympic setting? If done properly I believe that it can. Formula E is a spec series, as in all of the cars are the same. This puts all of the focus on the drivers them selves. It would be awesome to see a massive array of different drivers from different countries from different disciplines race against one another. Throw in some patriotic paint schemes and national pride and it would be quite a spectacle. It could be epic.
As for the Track itself, I don’t see this being to huge an undertaking. Large chunks of Olympic host cities are shut down during the games. It shouldn’t be too difficult a task to incorporate a temporary street circuit into the city. Plus, there is the added appeal of having TV showcase an event with the host city as the back drop. Think of all the national and city pride the hosts could display on a 2ish mile circuit. Logistically, if a track couldn’t be drawn up within the city, an existing circuit could be used. Most major cities that could garner serious consideration for an Olympic games have a race track near them. Minor updates for safety, etc, would need to be made but it is a viable option.
Lastly Formula E is kind of quirky. For example, when a car runs out of juice, they swap cars mid race. They also engage fans via something called “Fan Boost” which is an online voting system where fans can chose to give their favorite driver extra power in the race for a short amount of time. While a bit odd to us old dogs of racing, I think this quirkiness could be used in the Olympics to its advantage. If it were up to me, I’d ditch the Fan Boost. It’s interesting and all, but a bit out there for the Olympics. The car swap however I could see being quite awesome, with a few tweaks. Instead of 1 driver changing from 1 car to another, simply have a 2nd driver in the 2nd car. When the first car comes in for its pit stop, the 2nd car with the 2nd driver goes out, like a relay of sorts. This would get more drivers into the event. As I said before the drivers would be the stars of the show. More drivers equals more hype which in turn brings more attention to the event. So to those in charge I say, make this happen.
Photo credit: MotorAuthority.com