New EU law could effectively ban motorsport

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...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (102) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sidesauce 06 Nov 2018

    I read about this a couple weeks ago and get the distinct feeling that the law will be used punitively - motorsport for the most part might come out of it unscathed but I can already see being used in a particularly pernicious way against private land owners...

  • Fetchez la vache 06 Nov 2018

    article said:
    a tractor being driven on private land - where it doesn't legally need insurance
    Not actually sure I agree with this. I'm required to get insurance to cover mine and third party farm workers working on my land... it's included as a standard add-on to my farm insurance.

    For this to have rattled round so long though, there must be more to this than meets the eye...

  • HustleRussell 06 Nov 2018

    Clickbait title, scaremongering and then climbdown in the final paragraph. PH articles beginning to conform to type with the sponsored content at the foot of the page.

  • Cold 06 Nov 2018

    We should probably leave the EU. Let's have a vote on it.

  • Turbobanana 06 Nov 2018

    Surely it wouldn't be so hard for an insurer to provide cover for a vehicle against loss, damage or injury to third parties (eg, spectators or marshals) but exclude that to other vehicles against which it was competing. You don't enter a race expecting there to be no contact, right? But the number of times a third party suffers is limited (certainly in my 30+ years as a spectator). That would constitute "insured", wouldn't it?

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