SEPTEMBER 12, 2001
The effects of the attacks on the US
IT is impossible to predict the long-term effects of the terrorist attacks yesterday in New York and Washington but the unsettling of the world's economy is something which will have a very damaging effect on motor racing, a sport which uses huge sums of investment every year. The general sense of uncertainty which the attacks have left behind have already hit the stock markets of the world.
In the immediate future there is no word yet as to whether any of the planes or buildings involved affected anyone directly involved in the sport. However, several big companies which are F1 sponsors appear to have suffered losses of personnel. Williams's sponsor Allianz, for example, had 400 people working in the World Trade Center. Sauber Sponsor Credit Suisse also had offices there although these appear to have been evacuated before the towers collapsed. Deutsche Bank, the parent company of Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, a shareholder in Arrows, also had offices in the building. The chances are, however, that none of these offices involved anyone directly linked to the sport.
The attacks, and the subsequent closing of the airspace over the United States may have an effect on the running of the CART race at Lausitz this weekend as hundreds of CART team members have to make the trip from the US to Europe and at least some of them will have been grounded as a result of the attacks. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to hit the event. The racing machinery will almost certainly already have arrived in Germany so the teams will probably be able to muddle through. If not it could be a disaster for CART.
In the longer-term, the attacks will lead to the marginalization of the Arab world. It is widely assumed that the attacks were planned and carried out by terrorists based or supported by governments in the Middle East, although no-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. It is inevitable that relations between the western world and the Middle East will suffer and there are going to be suspicions about any events which are being planned in the Middle East.