There 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.