Over the past couple of weeks, as the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic began to really hit home, it became clear that British motorsport’s governing body had no option but to close everything down. By removing all event permits from mid-March until at least the end of June, Motorsport UK signalled that no racing in this country will occur for 15 weeks. It may well, of course, be on lockdown for longer.

Nobody can argue with the validity of the decision: the movement of people and crowds generated would have been socially irresponsible.

An early major casualty was the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, planned for the last weekend of March. The team at Goodwood has said it hopes to reschedule the event for later in the year, but fitting such a major undertaking into an already crowded calendar will be no easy task. And, of course, nobody is yet able to predict when sport will finally be given the green light to resume.

The temporary termination of all racing, coming just as the 2020 season was about to kick in, has come as a massive blow to participants and fans alike. But their disappointment is a minor issue compared with the devastation already starting to hit the British motorsport industry.

2 Goodwood members meeting

Motorsport is something that we do incredibly well in the UK. Indeed, in many areas, this country leads the world. While the top of the ladder is taking its share of the pain in Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship and the World Rally Championship, the UK’s normally thriving national and historic fraternities are going to be decimated as cars sit unused in workshops.

The UK motorsport industry employs some 40,000 people across 4500 or so firms with a combined annual turnover of £9 billion. While a fair part of that relates to F1, a lot of it comes from small specialists supplying niche markets and employing perhaps two or three people. It’s the one-man band that’s the go-to for rebuilding ZF gearboxes in Mk2 Ford Escort rally cars or the small operation that does the best Formula Junior engine rebuilds.