Top Gear has fostered an ‘environmentally unfriendly image’ of motorsports among the public, an influential government committee said today.
March 22, 2010 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – In a report on the motor industry, published today, the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee said ‘reckless petrol heads’ like Jeremy Clarkson caused people to ignore the work being done to reduce carbon emissions.
The MPs said they were ”puzzled” by the environmentally unfriendly image held by many of the public of both the aerospace and motorsports industries.
And the committee blamed the ”Top Gear effect” for associating high-performance cars and planes with irresponsible drivers.
The Government was also accused of ”complacency” over Britain’s world-leading motorsports industry and warned that other countries are lining up to poach the hi-tech work and employees.
The industry was hailed by the committee as one of the ”crown jewels of UK manufacturing”, with 4,500 small businesses centred around Silverstone supporting 38,500 jobs and generating annual sales of more than £6 billion – of which 60 per cent are exports.
But the cross-party committee said ministers had sidelined the industry, treating it as a niche market in the broader automotive sector.
In a report published today, the MPs urged Lord Mandelson’s Business Department to establish a specialist policy team with responsibility for the motorsport industry.
And the committee voiced concern over motorsports engineering courses offered in British universities, highlighting a tendency for students to be taught motorsports management rather than more rigorous technical engineering material.
In today’s ‘Full Speed Ahead’ report, the committee said it was ”struck by the lack of understanding and effective engagement by Government”,
TThe industry repeatedly told us the Government was complacent about UK leadership in this sector,” the report authors added.
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is one of only two races in the Formula One calendar not to enjoy financial support from the host government, noted the report.
Committee chairman Peter Luff said: ”Motorsport is an industry of national importance, and the Government needs to recognise this. We find it difficult to imagine any other country sidelining such an important industry.
”The Government needs to address this problem if the UK is to maintain this pre-eminent international industry and help it flourish.”
”The aerospace industry is extremely competitive and other governments are not afraid to spend significant sums of money supporting their home-grown industry,” said Mr Luff.