Honda F1 website

MAY 5, 2004

Allowing racers to work hard

The British government has been giving details of its new approach to the European Union Working Time Directive. The UK was recently forced to give up its system which allowed companies to opt out of the system, stirring up opposition in a number of industries, including motor racing, which argued that changing the law would make them less competitive because they would need to employ more people to do the job which is currently being done by highly-motivated individuals who want to work more.

The British government is planning regulations - which will take around 18 months to legislate - which will mean that employees can only work a 48-hour week but which will allow for this to be averaged out over a "reference period" which could be as long as six months. The British law will also allow people to work more than 10 hours in a 24 hour period.

This will have some effect on the motorsport industry if the law is policed. However it is going to be very hard for the authorities to keep track of who has been working when, particularly if the workers in a company want to work more than they are legally bound to do. Problems will arise however if there disgruntled employees want to stir up trouble with companies which are breaking the law.

Sanctions against the companies involved will be fines although directors will be taken to court in the long-term if their company breaks the rules.