|Monday 23 March 2020
Firstly, I would like to thank our motorsport community for its incredible response to the challenges we are facing. From across the country, from our clubs, officials and competitors, venues, teams and engineering firms there is a solidarity to face the crisis and work together to find solutions. We thank all of the medical teams across the UK for working tirelessly to keep us safe, and in particular the huge number from our own community who are in the front line of this battle.
These are unprecedented times for everyone, and as we are all painfully aware, the changes we are facing are very considerable. The speed of change is striking, and it has required all of us to reset our perspectives on a daily basis.
The announcement we made on the 17th of March to suspend UK motorsport activities seemed to come quickly and suddenly. As the government moved into a new phase of the fight against the virus, so the reference points for all sport, and indeed all social activity shifted with immediate effect. The insistence that we all avoid unnecessary social contact and travel meant that a sport such as ours was caught by this sweeping requirement.
Of course, we could have argued that some activities in the broader spectrum of motorsport could navigate such a requirement, but that would simply have ignored the much larger agenda to protect everyone in society. And our members. The community that makes motorsport feasible is complex and diverse, but united in a shared passion. For everyone, the halting of activity, especially as the season was just about to take off, is extremely difficult to come to terms with even when we see the larger picture. But many in our community are themselves vulnerable and may have felt compelled by passion and duty to continue even though it may have been unwise to do so.
In any event, a couple of days later and the stark picture in other countries, including our close European neighbours, has many people asking why government not been more restrictive and acted sooner.
As well as the risk of transmission in social situations, motorsport has the potential to be dangerous and incur injuries. The wonderful members of the emergency services that do so much for motorsport, overwhelmingly do so in their own free time, and as such do not place any compromise on the health or other services. However, these are not normal times. Health services around the world are at breaking point and we all know that our own NHS is now facing the same surge in cases that mean every available resource has to be brought to bear. A week later it seems impossible to think that motorsport would add to that burden in any way.
We have postponed the season until the end of April, but that is in the context of a rapidly evolving understanding of the scale and impact of the virus. It is being suggested that our lives will be changed for many weeks if not months, and we need to plan for that eventuality.
Motorsport UK reacted quickly, and within two days we had in place the IT systems and working processes to allow us to vacate Motorsport UK House and set up a network of home-based offices. We are working with the community to provide support and guidance and planning for the future.