Sporting Events, Globalisation and Grand Prix

One of the things the younger generation take for granted, especially those of us that live near to an international airport, is the ability to travel. Within a few hours you can be at the location of almost any European Grand Prix. Monaco Grand Prix, no problem, a 1hour 45minute flight. Italian Grand Prix, no problem, 2hours to Milan and then hop into a cab. But when countries begin to face “Lock-Down” then the world becomes a much bigger place.

For the travel industry these are especially challenging times. Grand Prix Grand Tours have already communicated to our guests that a) we’ll do everything we can to run an event, but b) if we can’t then everyone will be offered a complete refund. We’re one of the lucky few, if an event is cancelled then (hopefully/presumably) we’ll be refunded the cost of the ticket. We won’t recoup our ad spend, but things could be much much worse. For an event organiser, cancelling a Grand Prix might mean the difference between turning a small profit that year, to paying back losses for the next five years. This matters because monetary losses mean job losses, and job losses impact peoples health.

And it’s not just the race organisers. Travel to any Grand Prix, and much of the food and drink and merchandising comes from sole traders for whom this could be their biggest weekend of the year. They’ll lose out too. This is perhaps why the Automobile Club de Monaco are currently holding firm that they are still planning to run Monaco Grand Prix and Monaco Historic Grand Prix (despite having closed their offices). As the races are held on public roads, the infrastructure required to run the event begins work months in advance. So what are the ACM to do? State that “we’re going to wait and see”, only to see all construction staff work at 50% pace knowing that the chances of them pulling down Grandstands in a few weeks time is a likelihood? Or announce that “we’re not running the event due to the Coronavirus” only for a cure to be discovered in time and then find themselves unable to run the event because they haven’t begun work constructing the circuit? Needless to say, they are in an unenviable position of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.