Courtesy of Sharon Cox
2020 has altered the landscape of rider’s profiles for ever. It’s not just the massive disruptions to rider’s ‘not racing’ due to COVID-19 pandemic, it is the change of economic, social, cultural and political climate that affects individual riders career.
Never before has Motorsport been put in situations where riders are the sole source of revenue, their only resource to retain global audience engagement and their confirmed ticket to sustainable operations in the future. Why? No fans means no revenue for promoters, management or track venue operators.
Never before have Motorsport riders gained distinct advantage in negotiating race agreements when Teams and Brand Manufacturers remain on back foot within uncertainty over growth of global bike sales.
And never before have riders placed their future careers in the hands of Factory Brands whose product performance on the track displays edge over competition through unification between Brand-Team-riders and crew.
Case in point- MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso ends contract with Ducati this season even when other Factory Teams have secured 2021 rider line-up. Given Dovi’s Manager and KTM remained in talks during lock-down, no agreement was reached- impasse for both parties. Should Dovi be concerned currently standing 2nd in MotoGP points table- No. Reasons are obvious- the guy has major experience from racing career to put towards furthering his career in whichever arena on or off the track.
Case in point- Lewis Hamilton’s push to gain support for Black Lives Matter movement within race-circuit coverage of Formula One. Not only has Hamilton pledged his recognition of the turmoil occurring in United States within African American community, but engaged Mercedes to ‘give up their Silver Arrows trim in bid to improve the diversity of Team and fight racism’. Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas race this season in all-black cars and overalls.
And Case in point- F1 driver Lando Norris grabbed opportunity to show-case various themes custom designed on his race helmet as soon as rules were relaxed whereby drivers could entertain more than one helmet per season.
Stand-out ‘Norris graphics’ has included a helmet designed by a six year old fan, along with up-coming salute to Italy’s GP at Monza with 2 different pizza toppings displayed either side of Italian flag running vertically down the front.
If Dovi, Lewis and Lando have such powerful identities to attract attention in whichever form they persist, these athletes also have the amazing ability to raise awareness of causes important to them not just in professional sphere but also personal space. And in doing so, these riders, drivers and racers gain the edge over any collective organizations whose survival depends on racing going ahead.
Header Photo: Lando Norris helmet design for F1 Monza, Italy.