Unlike many other sports, motorsport can provide a situation where an adapted race car can help to neutralise some of the physical impairments that a competitor may have. With Robert Kubica returning to F1 after injury and Billy Monger making his way up the ranks despite losing both of his legs, the awareness of disability in motorsport has risen sharply over the last year or so.
The FIA has now unanimously voted in favour of some new proposals which will make it easier for disabled drivers to compete in championships across the world.
One of the new proposals will see the introduction of driver passports, which clarify to race organisers a driver’s given level of physical ability and how they were able to achieve their race licence. Another is the car-related ‘Certificate of Adaption’, which proves that any changes made to the cars are legal, safe, and do not offer a performance advantage.
— billywhizz (@BillyMonger) November 26, 2018
There’s also the introduction of a disabled drivers’ grant, which will allow disabled drivers at a national level to upgrade their fire safety equipment to an FIA standard.
The intention of these brand new appendices is to make it easier for championships around the world to accommodate disabled drivers, rather than having to look at things on a case-by-case basis. They may sound like small things but it shows the FIA’s willingness to actively include drivers with a disability while maintaining exactly the same safety standards.
Speaking directly about the acceptance of these new proposals, president of the FIA’s Disability and Accessibility Commission, Nathalie McGloin (herself a racing driver who is paralysed from the chest down), said:
“We have made great strides this year and the support I have received by the President and all members of the FIA gives me great confidence that we can make even more progress in 2019 and beyond. We’re shaping the future of motorsport forever with these extremely positive steps forward.”
What a day! I have no words ❤️
— Nathalie McGloin (@nathaliemcgloin) July 8, 2018
In terms of accessibility for disabled drivers with aspirations to race, or remain racing, there hasn’t really been a better time. It’s positive to see the FIA making strides in this aspect and support from the wider motorsport fanbase – as well as drivers from other series – is establishing not just an atmosphere of inclusion, but a desire to practically find real solutions, too.