There could come a day where all forms of motor racing in Europe will be illegal

Can you imagine a world where all forms of motorsport become illegal in Europe? That could happen if the European Motor Insurance Directive isn’t amended to change stipulations that require all cars to be fully insured. New proposals to amend the MID are currently under review by the European Commission. If the amendments pass without any changes to the specific phrasing to the text, motor racing of any kind, be it Formula One, rally racing, and even go-kart racing, will become illegal. It’s hard to imagine a world where Formula One racing is illegal in Europe, but it could happen if the amendments don’t include the stipulations that will allow the entire industry to operate legally within the Union’s laws. A vote is set to take place in December in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The threat of motorsports becoming illegal in Europe is real, and it all boils down to whether the current amendment that requires all EU Member States to ensure compulsory third-party liability insurance by anyone using any form of motorized transport gets passed. The amendment isn’t so much of an issue on production and commercial vehicles, but it could threaten the existence of motor racing in Europe because there is no motorsport insurance available in Europe that meets the compulsory requirements of the amended Motor Insurance Directive (MID). That’s the big obstacle facing the entire motorsport industry at the moment.

As it is, the latest review of the MID follows the aforementioned “Vnuk” ruling — mentioned above — that was made by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) back in September 2014.

Earlier this year, the European Commission (EC) clarified the proposed amendments, saying that the new MID would apply to “any use of a vehicle, consistent with its normal function as a means of transport, irrespective of the terrain on which the motor vehicle is used and whether it is stationary or in motion”.

New E.U. Insurance Rules Could Ban All Motorsport
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If that amendment gets passed, any sort of motorsport vehicle, whether it’s Formula One, MotoGP, rally cars, motorcycles, go-karts, and drag racing cars, must carry insurance that covers personal injury to other competitors AND car to car-to-car/bike-to-bike damages to competitor’s vehicles during any event, anywhere in the EU.

The problem is that there is no such insurance available in the entire EU that meets the compulsory requirements of the MID.

Chris Aylett, the CEO of the Motorsport Insurance Authority, told AutoExpress that unless amendments are made to the wording of the text, motorsport in the EU would become illegal. There is another way to get around the issue, Aylett adds, but that way is entirely contingent on insurers changing their minds completely and pick up the risk of motorsport accidents. The possibility of the latter scenario happening is minuscule, to say the least.

“This law applies to any motor vehicle, on any land, anywhere in the UK and EU”, Aylett said. “For most of these circumstances – golf buggies and ride-on lawnmowers, for example, you could probably get cover for not too much money. (But) no insurer will pick up the risk of motorsport accidents. They can’t give unlimited liability to personal injuries or vehicle accidents on the racetrack.”

New E.U. Insurance Rules Could Ban All Motorsport
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It’s hard to imagine this amendment getting passed without serious backlash from a number of businesses that revolve around the motorsport industry. It’s not just about rendering the whole sport illegal. It’s also about the potential of losing thousands of jobs and businesses that exist today because of the sport. If it becomes illegal, there’s going to serious repercussions to a lot of people, specifically those who have jobs in the field.

It’s also interesting to see if a law like this would pass here in the U.S.

Granted, the whole motorsport industry here isn’t as big as it is in Europe, but America is still home to some of the biggest and most prestigious racing series in the world, including IndyCar and, more importantly, NASCAR.

Knowing how litigious this country can get, a law like this would probably have a hard time passing considering the number of legal avenues companies tied into the industry can leverage to their benefit. But that’s not to say it can’t happen in Europe because the MIA thinks it’s urgent enough to call on people to call their representatives and make their voices heard.

New E.U. Insurance Rules Could Ban All Motorsport
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The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union are due to vote on amending the Motor Insurance Directive in December, putting a final ruling in place on whether it should apply to all vehicles on all land. If no amendments to the MID are made to address the concerns of the MIA, then motorsport effectively becomes illegal in the Old Continent. Who would’ve thought that day could come, right?

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Source: Motorsport Industry Association

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