Formula One

Will Brexit affect Formula 1?

Brexit negotiations, the biggest talking point in Britain and Europe since the vote occurred in 2016. Next month, Brexit will go ahead (we assume) and this nation will never be the same again.

It has already caused the near collapse of the Government, with MP’s resigning and the prime minister’s proposal being rejected for a second time by Parliament. The country is running a huge risk of leaving with no deal, either way Formula 1 is undoubtedly going to be affected.

The heart and soul of this great motor sport is found in its teams, the majority of which (8/10) are based in Britain. For some teams, sponsorship deals have become more lucrative due to the fluctuations in exchange rates for the Pound.

Red Bull Racing boss, Christian Horner, seems to think that his team has nothing to worry about. “I’m a great believer that if you’re attractive to do business with, people will do business with you” (F1 Racing).

How to remain attractive with so much uncertainty about what the future holds post-Brexit is something all UK teams will face.

F1 travels to 21 different countries in a ten-month period. It’s not only the car that you have to get to the circuit, there’re a lot of goods that come with it (tyres, hydraulics, motorhomes …), mind boggling logistics!

The danger that a lot of team managers are worried about is that Brexit is going to increase difficulties for their teams to travel from country to country with ease.

McLaren has already faced such a difficulty. Ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi last season, the team had pallets of hydraulics and parts which customs in the UAE would not give clearance to for three days.

This was because “Something changed in the declaration of hydraulics or hydraulic parts, and the bureaucracy meant we had pallets held in customs for three days. At one point, we were 24 hours away from not being able to run on Friday” (F1 racing), explained McLaren chief operating officer Jonathan Neale.

It is not only the movement of goods that teams will be worried about, but also their employees.

A large percentage of people working at each team are EU citizens and with the political system looking ever more ‘hostile’ towards immigrants, recruitment could potentially be damaged.

This is something that will not only affect the numbers in the work force, but also the team talent pool, which is unfair.

As the British Government doesn’t seem to know what they’re actually doing, this creates a high level of uncertainty for potential buyers, you also run a high risk of bureaucracy.

Currently, the sport is keeping calm and preparing for the 2019 season. We will have to wait and see whether Brexit will bring this historic sport crashing down or only causes a slight bump going forward.

Whichever way you look at it, Brexit is certainly going to change things. We will just have to wait and see whether it will be for better or for worse.

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