Olympic Medals for Hamilton & Co?

alex-zanardiThere is a precedent of a former F1 driver winning Olympic gold. Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a horrific shunt during the 2001 American Memorial 500 on the Eurospeedway in Germany won two gold medals and a silver as a hand-biker in the 2012 London Paralympics.

But if it was for FIA’s high-ranking official Lars Östersund, the Hamiltons, Vettels and Verstappens of this world would duke it out in their usual job during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Theoretically, that is possible because the FIA became a member organisation of the International Olympic Committee in 2011 and therefore has the right to propose new sports for inclusion in the Olympic Games.

Östersund argues that the (at least seemingly) eco-friendly Formula E would be a perfect partner to provide the material and every member country would have the right to nominate three drivers, the selection of which would then be the responsibility of the national motorsports association.

Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve, who will drive in Formula E in the upcoming season thinks the idea is not all that bad, saying that the idea would be everything but unrealistic. “Who thought thirty years ago that we’d be watching the best of the best play tennis at the Olympic Games? Yet now it’s almost as if they’ve always been there,” the Canadian is quoted by German media.

Of course there are some logistics to consider. Blocking off a track is probably one of the easier exercises. If the organizers would use the track known to every Playstation Granturismo gamer as R246, the young generation would even recognize it and could relate to what the challenges are. Of course there would also be the option of running at nearby Twinring Motegi.

Trouble could be brewing if too many countries want to sign up and we could either end up with a massive pre-qualifying or there would be elimination races to run. And there’d be a question of who runs the car. For countries that have Formula E teams, like Germany, America, Japan or China, that question would of course be easily answered.

Another question would be the topic of material equality, although one can argue that in the Olympic bicycle race there is no material equality either, especially for the individual time trial.

Let us know what you think about the prospect of an Olympic ePrix.

30 responses to “Olympic Medals for Hamilton & Co?

    • They could use the original formula e cars/old season 1 qually spec, or the old a1 gp cars etc. or like race of champions a spec car (probably provided by the Olympic car sponsors)

  1. I’d love to see it, even though I don’t follow formula e now.
    If my country would compete in it (I doubt Croatia would compete for financial reasons), I’d absolutely watch it for sure, even though I’d probably watch it regardless. 🙂
    Being a three times Olympian myself, I know first hand how exciting is everything about Olympics.
    As for the equality of the material, that’s never the case.
    Even in running (the best always get something special prototypes from their sponsors), let alone in technical dependent sports, like biking, sailing, archery, or rowing.
    The biggest nations always have and always will have the upper hand. If nothing else, they have strength in numbers and/or the resources available to them.
    As a example, I competed in rowing, but we never had money to do altitude training before Olympics, hence we couldn’t get quite up to the medal, even though we would beat most of the teams who won medals during the season.
    Final (top six) was the max we could with resources we had.

    • This is why I love internet.
      Everyday I learn something new and get another perspective on things.

      In this case the importance of altitude training! I knew lots of athletes do it, but never would’ve guessed such an impact.

      – was the altitude training really the only difference?
      – why arent all (top) F1 drivers and even pitcrews doing it?

      Interrsting stuff.

      • Altitude training increases the oxygen capacity of the blood. This increases endurance: you can keep performing at a high (physical) level for longer.

        This is not an advantage for pit crews, because they do their job in 2 seconds or so. That is so fast, that oxygen capacity is irrelevant. They are better off with speed and strength training (and practice).

        I very much doubt that the drivers are oxygen limited. Turning the steering wheel requires some level of strength and endurance, but there is no advantage to being able to turn it more often than is required to follow the race line. So the driver needs a certain minimum amount of endurance, that can be achieved with regular training and there is no advantage of any (altitude) training beyond this.

        This is different from a sport like rowing, where you actually have an advantage if you can pull the oar more often.

        PS. A drug like EPO has the same effect as altitude training and since the drivers aren’t tested, they could get the same effect much easier that way.

      • To be honest I don’t Know if altitude trainig was the only difference, I thought it was, since we were one of very few top teams who didn’t do it.
        Also at the time (now we know for sure, back then we only suspected) East Germans and many of Eastern blck countires were using doping on their athletes.
        Their medicines were far more advanced than doping tests at the time, so no one evet got kaught. 🙂
        My First World Championship was 1987, and First Olympics were in 1988, so that was at the hight of their domination in all sports where athlete relative performance did the difference.
        East Germans for example didn’t care much about football, basketball, and other games, where there are too many variables, and pure strength, or performance wasn’t the differentiating factor. Skill, talnent, tricks and similar stuff wins the games. 🙂

        As Aapje already answered to you, F1 drivers and pit crews in particular could feel very little benefit from the altitude Training.
        First of all you have to spend there about 4+ weeks (depends on altitude, but I’d say at least 2000m above sea level), to gain about one week of enhanced performance.
        Since they have races every two weeks or so during the season, they don’t have time to do it, nor it will last them all season.
        Okay, now days they have altitude chambers athletes sleep in, but in my mind that’s not enough, since in the morning you have to get out of the bed and spend the rest of the day somewhere else.
        I’ve been on altitude training only once and by accident, (through my college of sports science) on skiing camp 5 weeks.
        Hotel was at about 2000m, and we skied between 2500 and 2000m.
        My rowing partner and I brought with us a ergometer (rowing machine), and resumed our practice what we would normaly do at sea level.
        During a first week I couldn’t keep the split times (500m split) within 4-5 seconds of what we supposed to do. Second week we were within 2-3 seconds.
        On week 4 we were right about the speed that our coach told us to do, and last week we were even little faster.
        So, when we finally got back home, I felt like Superman. 🙂
        I was with ease doing 500m split times some 6-7 seconds faster then I supposed to do. 🙂
        And it lasted for about a week, or 10 days and that was it.
        Since our World Championships and Olympics competitions are for a week only, this is ideal for us to do.
        Competitive rowing has extremly high power output, with endurance component. Basicaly in the race one is always well above 90% of their max capacity, meaning one sprints for 6-7 minutes.
        To put it in perspective, try this.
        Use 60 kilos bar with weight on it, step on the chair, with bar undernith it on the floor, lift it up to your chest in about 0,4 sec, 40 times a minute, for 6-7 minutes, and you’ll see how “easy” it is. 🙂

        As I said before, big countries have strength in numbers and Resources, and for that reason alone small countries have hard time competing with them, except on occasional event.
        Right now (actually as of tomorrow) World Rowing championship will begin in France, and Croatia has one crew that will likely get gold (men’s double scull) and one (men’s single scull) who might surprise and get medal, and that’s it.
        We don’t have anyone else, besides this three guys who can do anythig notewhorty.
        Once they retire at the moment I don’t see anyone who will repace them.
        As oppose to Great Britain, or Germany, or US, who have thousands of rowers to choose form.
        I’m talking about rowing, since tha’s my sport, but that’s pretty much the same in all sports.



        • Very interesting to read, thank you! I will be thinking of you when I get on the rowing machine today!

          Out of curiosity, what were your target splits?

          • Hey, thank you for reading such a long post (I noticed once I posted it – got carried away 🙂 )
            As for the splits, depends on season.
            Fall and Winter are slower and longer, while Spring and Summer are shorter with higher intensitiy, higher stroke rate and of course speed.
            So for example one single training in the Winter (as far as I remember it was Tuesday afternoon) is one hour (60 min) on erg, with 1:40,0 split for 500m, which will give you 18 km total in one hour. Of course 4 of us would do this next to each other, trying to beat the other guy, so we would quite often do bit faster than that. 🙂
            In my last season (’96), our coach wouldn’t let us do one hour flat, he insisted that we had to do 3x20min with 1 min off, to drink water. It gives you more benefit if you can drink than if you kill yourself for a hour.
            The shorter the distance the faster the splits., eg. if we were doing 5×10 min for the practice with 3 min rest in between, the split would be 1:36,0 – 1:36,5 / 500m.
            Please keep in mind that we were practicing anywhere between 12 and 20 times a week. 🙂
            So don’t try this at home. 🙂
            As for the target splits, as you can see they are depending on practice and distance.
            Check your heart rate after every piece and make sure you don’t go to high with it to often (depending on your age and fitness as well).
            After a really hard practice, which builds lot of lactic acid, make sure your next practice is pretty long (hour and a half at least) on low heart rate (130-140 max), so you clean your body from the lactic acid properly.
            The best for you would be to get a advice from a coach in your local Club, and follow the plan (depending on your goals).
            If you just want to be fit, dont do more than 5-6 practices a week.
            If you want to compete, you’ll have to do more. 🙂
            Cheers and good luck.

            Krako (Sead Marušić)

          • Thanks Krako, for the information (those are very very impressive times, particularly over an hour!) and for the advice, but I won’t attempt to copy you!

            I am recovering from injury, I incorporate rowing as I find it beneficial and enjoyable. I was curious about your training because from my experience in surf clubs, everyone leaves the gym when the rowers arrive!

            Do you know about surf boat rowing? I think it must be one of the most hardcore sports… I have seen people impaled on oars at championships in heavy conditions and yet the competition continues. This video is not a good example of racing, but it shows some good action!
            (I was injured racing motorboats like the “little” red one at the very end)

          • Hi Lloyd,

            For some reason I can’t reply to your last post (no reply link), so I’m doing it here.
            Nowdays (some 20 odd years later) those times look impressive to me too. 🙂
            We never raced over one hour, since heart rate and stroke rate were set for the particular practice. I remember we never did over 26-27 strokes a minute, and heart rate was for me under 180 bpm (184 was my lactic acid trashold at the time) and still maintained 1:39,9 – 1:40,0 split times.
            Now I can only dream to keep that kind of speed over 2000m, let alone over a hour. 🙂

            I hope you’ll recover quickly from your injury, and kinda can’t believe someone actualy enjoys rowing on erg. 🙂
            I never met anyone in person who does.
            If you have chance to try the real thing out on the water, you’ll see why.
            It is like we’re talking two different sports.
            You said: “…because from my experience in surf clubs, everyone leaves the gym when the rowers arrive!”, but I don’t see why?
            They make everyone ashamed with their strength and stamina?

            As for the video you posted, as far as I know this kind of racing/rowing is done only in Australia. FISA (world rowing organisation) has similar sport called coastal rowing, that in recent years is becoming more and more popular. But I don’t think they race in such conditions, like Aussies.
            Rowing on the conditions like those in video looks dangerous and fun at the same time. 🙂
            I’d love I had a chance to try it when I was in Australia for 1990 Worlds.

            Best of luck with your recovery.


            Krako (Sead Marušić)

  2. It would be nice. But in reality it is a bit too much and senseless. Every other sport currently an Olympic event could have been participated in 2000 years ago with only the kind of materials used changing. Motorsport on the other hand is too expensive and impractical to have world wide participation. Will be wonderful though to see Button fencing with Alonso or Hamilton and Vettel etc.

  3. Every Olympic sport I can think of is human powered. If the drivers had to peddle the cars then okay, otherwise it’s not in the spirit of the Olympics (which I know has degenerated into a financial and social mess for the hosting cities and ruined the real spirit).

    The bidding wars that are going on are just a little bit too much like the World Cup………..

    • Sailing is not human powered, nor equestrian (btw who’s a athlete there, a horse, or a guy riding it 🙂 ).

  4. I don’t understand why elimination races would be an issue. Many Olympic sports have them. Just have the top-N finishers advance to the final. You can easily accommodate large number of countries that way. For instance, 4 semifinals of 16 cars with the top-4 going to the final, would allow 64 countries to participate (a rather absurd number, just to illustrate how easy it is). You can tweak as desired.

    The real issue I see would be whether top drivers would be allowed to participate. We already saw that Alonso was not allowed to do Le Mans. Baseball was kicked out of the Olympics and one of the important reasons was that the MLB teams didn’t allow their players to participate.

    • The same goes for top football players. For some reason, football isn’t all that big at Olympics, since the best guys aren’t playing it.
      Basketball was pretty much the same until ’92. games and participation of the original Dream Team.
      Baseball was introduced to Olympics as demo sport at the ’88. Games in Seoul. I watched the final game (USA vs Japan) live in the stadium just to see “that” baseball and what’s all about.
      Needless to say, by the end of the game, I realized US won, only by cheering of the crowd and players. 🙂
      That didn’t stop me to ask one of the winning players to give me his bat, which he did, and I still have it at home. 🙂
      I was going to say, that baseball isn’t all that popular wrldwide, outside of US, Carebeean and Japan hardly anyone else is playing it.
      I guess the same goes for waterpolo, but that sports game is at Olympics program for decades, and will stay.



      • Football at the Olympics is just a U23 tournament for the men (but not for women!). This is mostly a compromise between the IOC wanting one of the biggest sports to be present, but FIFA and the teams not wanting to burn out their top players even more. But it’s really a travesty.

        There are Olympic sports with fewer competitive countries than baseball, so that is not the deciding factor. Especially since the US & Japan are 2 big markets. I think it was primarily the snubbing by the MLB and the doping issues in the sport that got it removed. But it seems like it will come back.

        • I don’t follow football at all, so at the Olympics that’s one of few events I never watched live, despite being there three times.
          As far as I remember Yugoslavia in 1988 (country fell apart some 3-4 years later, so my other Olympics I competed for Croatia) had most of our top players compeeting at the Olympics
          So U23 rule must’ve been introduced later.
          I just remember that women’s football was introduced at my last Games in Atlanta 1996.
          Probably FIFA didn’t want to have Olympics tournament so strong to compete with thier own World Cup, I don’t think that burning the players is a issue, since they don’t train nor play as much as many other real (footballers are players, not athletes 🙂 )athletes in various other sports.
          If you look at the Le Tour de France for example, those guys are racing every day for 3 weeks, and for hours every day. And that’s only one race, they participate in more than one every season, plus couple of trainings every day.
          And still they come to Olympics to compete as best as they can.
          I absolutely agree with you on the travesty statement.
          If every county in every sport are sending their the best athletes, whn not football?
          After all, citius, altius, fortius has been Olympisc moto for decades.

          I can hardly think of any sport with fewer competitors than baseball at Olympics, but maybe you’re right.
          I guess equestrian as purely elitists sport could be one of them.
          I remember back at the ’92. Games in Barcelona, a guy from Germany (Hermann Weiland) competed for us, since he couldn’t qualify for his own country. He simply bought a passport for rumored 70 000 or even 700 000 DEM (people on our team at the Olympics speculated with those numbers, and Money allegedly ended up with our corup president of the country).
          Also waterpolo for sure. Formaly they have bunch of the teams competing, but in reality very few of them are serious competitors. Most of the countries compeeting don’t even have they own league.
          Even vore is woman’s waterpolo. 🙂

          As for the baseball, I really don’t know why it got removed from the Games. Probably for the reasons you’ve mentioned.
          In my mind rowing might get removed due to extreme cost of the event.
          Unless a hosting city has nearby facility, to build one is probably the highest single expense they will have.



          • Football is U23 since 1992 (but 3 players above that age since 1996). And it actually happens regularly that top football players are burned out at the end of the season. Top players often play twice a week and that seems above the limit for many of them.

            And cyclists actually deteriorate a lot during a grand tour. Very, very few can do well at two of them. Aside from the 3 grand tours, the other races are much less demanding and easier to recover from.

    • I didn’t know they’ve changed participation rules for football. I don’t follow it closely enough (actually at all).

      And for once I desagree with you on fitness issue of footballers. 🙂
      No real athlete can be burned out for playing a football game twice a week.
      As far as I know they hardly run (okay, some, or most of it is sprinting, but still) 10Km per game, which is for running dependent game on relatively big field by any standards too little for given amount of time. Quite franky of few games I ever watched on TV, I saw to much walking around, too much for my liking. 🙂
      And for a fact I know they don’t train as hard as they can or could.
      Long time ago we happen to be on a winter training camp in the same hotel where football team which won the Champion’s League that year were. So I had a chance to see for 3 weeks what they do, and how much of it. and to be honest that wasn’t a lot.
      At the same time I was doing by my estimate some 4 times as much in the morning alone.
      Most of the time they didn’t have afternoon practice, and moyst shoking was amount of cigarettes they smoked.
      Funnily enough latter I read in the newspapers, that they’ve done the most productive Training camp ever, and never the less, they’ve won the Champions League, or whatever was the name back then of that competition (this was in 1990, or 1991.

      Yes, I was shoked for the first time about “athletes” smoking at my first Olympics Games, when I realized that many, many “athletes” who play sports games do smoke.
      None of the real ones in individual sports did, at least I never saw them.
      But those who played football, basketball, handball, volleyball, even waterpolo were mostly smokers. Guys and girls alike.
      That tells you enough how hard it is to do those games. 🙂



  5. Would Usain Bolt be allowed to participate or would he be deemed to have an unfair advantage?..☺️☺️

  6. I would love to see all the talented drivers of F1 (and also from other disciplines) racing in stock formula cars during the Olympic Games.

  7. Hamilton would just bitch about the medals not being grand enough…

    Oh, and it’s a stupid idea.

  8. The IOC is just as corrupt as FIFA. We don’t to add a race where drivers put their lives at risk to enrich a bunch of criminals.

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