Motor sport safety has come an enormous distance in a relatively short time. The last thirty years have seen major changes to the vehicles, the drivers, the circuits and the response to an incident. While the initial problem with making cars safe was money, now it is an assumed expense for a race team. Thirty years ago, death was an accepted part of the game, these days it is an exception. Many of the newest developments are in safety, especially now that so much computerised technology has been banned from the sport
The drivers may have lost many of their suicidal tendencies, but the level of safety has brought in some undesirable attitudes toward racing. This is due to the tracks and cars becoming so safe that if a driver does push too hard, they know that they have a very good chance of walking away with no injuries. There are no consequences for drivers any more, they are paid to drive, if they damage a car, they do not have to pay for it themselves, so why should they care?
Many of the so called safety measures in place in motor sport, especially here in Australia, need to be redesigned for our local racing. It surely isn't that hard to make a safe, forgiving yet also exciting racetrack. If racing safety continues the way it is going, it may well start to see a decline in revenue as people turn away from it due to boredom. People don't watch motor sport to just see cars following each other around a circuit, they watch it for action. Seeing cars fighting for position making bold overtaking moves and a few accidents is what it is all about. The drivers don't race because it is safe, they race because of the danger. Make circuits that punish a driver who makes a mistake by them losing time, don't put them out of the race. This will result in better action for spectators, and better competition for the drivers concerned. There is so much money available for safety, why does it have to be used to destroy the spectacle? Indy and NASCAR seem to have the right idea on the oval track racing. They don't seem to be trying to stop the cars crashing as much, just protecting the driver better when it happens, after all oval track racing is very boring without crashes.
The attitude of the FIA is getting safer, which is all very well, but they need to look long term at the big picture. The president of the FIA, Max Mosely is very safety conscious, his aim is "to have made motor sport safe"(Motor Racing Australia, 1996), but where will the money come from if he turns away spectators? Sponsors will not fund these events if no one cares to watch them. It will be very interesting to follow motor sport over the next ten years to see what really does happen.