What will a Slovenian tractor and Lewis Hamilton's F1 W09 racing car soon have in common according to a new EU law? Both will be legally required to be fully insured before they can operate in their intended manner. As things stand, the introduction of a new Motor Insurance Directive legislation will effectively ban motorsport in Europe, because while a farmer might face little struggle in insuring a tractor, no provider in their right mind would cover an ultra-high-risk vehicle such as a car of F1, the BTCC or WRC.
Before we jump onboard the scaremongering train let's remember that there are often proposed new laws that fail to consider all effects of their introduction, which are then amended to ensure they don't adversely create these unforeseen circumstances. Surely EU boffins are hurriedly working to fix this absurd issue. But no, worryingly for motorsport, despite the issue having been highlighted for several months, there is still no official signal from Brussels to confirm that the laws will be changed accordingly.
So just why does the EU suddenly think racing cars need to be insured, after decades of running without such requirement? It all links to an incident in 2014 where a man was knocked off a ladder by a tractor being driven on private land - where it doesn't legally need insurance - in Slovenia (hence the awkward opening line of this article). In response, the EU wants to change the law to ensure victims of similar incidents will always be fairly compensated. Which seems fair enough.
Thing is, the terminology the EU uses to describe the legislation is so broad, that it'll technically affect everything, from your neighbour's petrol lawn mower to Hamilton's Silver Arrow. Here's the proof: the EU states that insurance will be required for "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".
But before our recently crowned five-time champ hangs up his helmet for good, it seems that, from a UK perspective at least, the law is due to receive appropriate alteration to enable racing without insurance. Most other EU members are also yet to integrate the EU's changes into their national legislation, so there's a strong chance motorsport will be enabled in each country individually via their own adjustments to law. Or, alternatively, Hamilton might find himself dipping into the pension pot a little earlier than planned. He has hinted at a career in the music industry...