Three of the Formula 1 teams as well as the governing body of the United Kingdom motorsport together discussed writing to British prime minister Theresa May about the mounting concerns over the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Head of Britain’s racing authority Motorsport UK, David Richards, is lobbying the British government over the impending exit from the EU. He spoke to the teams last week.
May’s deal was rejected by the MPs by a margin of 230 votes earlies this week, making it the largest defeat by a government in the House of Commons ever since the World War I. This increased the concerns about Britain leaving the European Union on the 29th of March this year without a deal in place. Among other things, this would mean no agreed customs or trade arrangement with member states.
An outcome like this would pose some major problems for the F1 teams travelling to European countries, as they host nine of the 10 races from the middle of May to the early September. Before the Commons vote last week, the representatives from the three F1 teams spoke with Motorsport UK chairman Richards. The identities of the teams are still kept private, but allegedly include one of the biggest. They share concerns regardless of the political situation about the leaving of the European Union, as a Brexit without a deal needs to be avoided at basically any cost, for the overall good of the competition.
At this moment, no action has been taken yet. The teams however believe that by uniting their voices, they appear united and stronger than raising individual concerns. A Brexit without a deal will impact their ability to move goods and personnel across the borders on the continent of Europe.
In addition, there is the matter of hiring the staff from the members of the European Union, particularly those working on manufacturing and shop floor positions, as well as the cost of imported and exported goods.
Richards says that these issues could very well threaten the viability of teams who have major bases in the United Kingdom, which has had a long tradition of being an important F1 stronghold and harbor.
Seven of the current 10 Formula 1 teams have their bases of operation on British soil. In comparison, 45 out of the 61 constructor championships throughout history have been won by a team that is based in the United Kingdom. This accounts for every title not won by the Italian team Ferrari.
Mr. Richards said that one of the possible outcomes could be that the teams will have “satellite operations” on the old continent. “Something we should be so proud of is the top F1 teams and world champions based here,” Richards said during the last week, at the Autosport International Show. He also added, “And we’re going to make their lives difficult. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
The impact of the controversial departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the world of motorsport is set to also extend beyond the borders of Formula 1. Brexit may also influence the companies who are in charge of importing and exporting the necessary goods, as well as all of the British competitors and championships that have to travel to various races on the European continent.
We honestly hope that whatever option people responsible go with in this serious matter, our beloved racing sport will come out intact or at least without any major consequences regarding the quality of this globally famous sports event.