Finding a new normal in uncertain times

Wednesday 08 July 2020

We’ve been counting down the days to 4th July when motorsport is set to return, albeit in a slightly different form, with a reduced number of events, and more strikingly, behind closed doors. The lack of spectators isn’t the only change that has been made as a consequence of lockdown.

We believe there will be other areas which will also see changes in the coming months. The most obvious impact on motorsport is financial, with F1 providing the most visible evidence of this. Renault is in the midst of making $2 billion worth of cuts over the coming years due to the reduction in consumer demand for road cars. The company has committed to remain in F1 for the time being.

However, if there is not an increase in the number of points scored, there must come a point at which participation in motorsport becomes increasingly difficult if the group is underperforming. Teams withdrawing from motorsport due to wider financial constraints are not new – Honda and Toyota both withdrew from F1 in 2008 and 2009 respectively and as these teams bowed out they made slots available for the privateers in the form of Brawn GP and Sauber.

If the financial ramifications of the coronavirus cut deeper than expected, we could see new teams enter the sport who could disrupt the current status quo. Renault’s decision to continue in F1 was in part due to the introduction of the new $145m budget limit which it is hoped will make the team more competitive. The limit has been reduced in light of the suspension of motorsport from the previously agreed level of $175m in a bid to retain the current teams.

Whilst ROKit are no longer sponsoring Williams, they are continuing to support an element of the motorsport industry – Esports. Prior to lockdown the thought of watching others playing a video game probably seemed alien however, with the lack of any other sort of motorsport to watch, Esports has quickly grown in prominence with a raft of current drivers competing in a variety of championships. A Legends Trophy was launched by Torque Esports, sponsored by ROKit, and included drivers such as Jenson Button, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Some Esports events have been reported as having more viewers than F1 races. In the US, Nascar launched the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series which was televised and enabled the series to reach 900,000 new viewers. If other championships were able to make similar gains it could be transformative for those seeking to expand viewership amongst younger fans who have traditionally been harder to engage with.

Esports has been slow to gain traction but it seems as though the strides made during lockdown have caused long term changes to behaviours that will be long lasting. Whatever may happen, the passion and enthusiasm for motorsport hasn’t disappeared – but like many areas of life at the moment a new normal for motorsport may emerge.

Like you, we cannot wait to get back on track and look forward to doing so early in July with Equipe Classic Racing. We want to help you to stay on track, so if you have any funding requirements for racing cars, transporters, trailers, or equipment, please get in touch with a member of our motorsport team.

For further information, contact:

Robert Johnson
Managing Director
Classic & Sports Finance
01869 351512