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The FIA and Jeremy Clarkson on environmental issues

3 Mins read

A few years ago, January 2003 to be exact, I received a call inviting me to participate in The BBC's Question Time audience hosted by David Dimbleby . When I got there, I also got selected to ask a question of a panel of politicians and commentators which included Micheal Howard (before he did an et tu Brutus? on Ian Duncan Smith), Patricia Hewitt (at the time, Tony Blair's fuzzy-duddy Trade and Industry Secretary), Ken Livingstone (hero of the Labour Left, who defied Tony Blair to become London Mayor), and, a hilariously vulgar, immature Tosser named Jeremy Clarkson. I often thank God that Clarkson's expertise is limited to Automobiles, and bending over backwards for Arabs with big ones. If he was more adept at anything, like say politics, he'd be Britain's own variation of Fox News' Glen Beck .

After some of the more serious stuff like terrorism, was gotten out of the way, the programmes' discussion turned to London and the introduction of a congestion charge (or was its expansion? I forget). Anyway, Ken Livington introduced the congestion charge to Central London and the politics around it had kicked into high gear. There was a serious case for controlling carbon emissions, as there was a case against the charge from a commercial aspect. Then, there was Jeremy Clarkson's petrol head perspective, wilfully ignorant of environmental protection measures and proud of it. If it's any consolation to those blokes who think Jeremy Clarkson serves a higher purpose than to insult British politicians as Scottish one eyed idiots, then I can tell you this: he didn't make a lot of sense, but he did create a lot of laughs.

I'm reminded of this incident every time I watch Top Gear on Dave TV which I must confess is a brilliantly formatted programme and see Mr Clarkson still begrudging any who dear confess to owning a fuel efficient vehicle. You see, Mr Clarkson is big on freedom, just don't abuse it by getting fancy ideas about doing your bit to protect the environment. So I could only imagine how utterly disgusted Jerry would have felt during his morning constitution of super unleaded, having just got the news that FIA have decided to embrace an Environmentally Sustainable Motorsport Policy.

There's concern that the FIA's espousing of an eco friendly variation of Motorsports will have dramatic consequences. What that means is opaque to say the least, but from what I could gather from the document, motorsport won't be experiencing any radical seismic shifts in the FIA's policy any time soon. For example the FIA document states under the heading 'Fuels' : “It is not the role of motor sport to determine which chemical molecules will ultimately deliver the energy used in fuels for road transport. Nor is it currently possible to regulate energy consumption or CO2 emissions on a well‐to‐wheel basis”.

After going through the FIA's released document it becomes more apparent that it's been put out as a symbolic gesture to allay and satisfy concerns about adopting a more eco friendly policy, rather truly grasping the nettle and instituting far reaching policy innovations. Part of me is sort of glad that the FIA is at least acknowledging the problem, but not taking draconian action that could impact motorsport in a negative way. Don't get me wrong, I love the sound of a Top Fuel engine about to thrust forward 8000hp…in the morning, I'm no eco nazi. However, the document offers neither carrot nor stick which could lead to members ignoring it all together. A lot of the decisions are left to others (?) who I suppose the FIA expect will act rationally, by using their better judgement. Yeah right.

Despite how I view Mr Clarkson, I admire his success and can only hope I emulate it someday. I will be attending the MPH motor show with Top Gear taking place 5-8 of Nov at Earls Court. Singularly for the motor show, of which I'm certain will feature a large amount of fuel efficient vehicles as they tend to do nowadays. Nonetheless, I would have still loved to have seen Clarkson's monkfish jaw drop open when he was first told about the FIA's intentions. I would have considered paying for that gush of CO2 emission.

If you ever come across the tape of me when that panel was on Question Time in 2003, I'm the Guy who asked the panel about terrorism and then schooled them a bit on it.

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About author
Charles is a regular contributor to TCF, he's based in London and can be found on twitter at @IBMsports
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