Would a Motorsport Transfer Window Work?
Could a Motorsport Transfer Window be the way forward to remove 'silly season' ?
Every year when the likes of F1 and Motogp roll into the European rounds of the championship, fans can always be assured that 'silly season' will start taking place and the endless rumours of crazy driver changes will begin to circulate. So much of the pre-race build up is focused on these rumours every week that in my opinion the racing itself and the prospect of the race ahead is somewhat forgotten about. So would a Motorsport transfer window, potentially be a way forward of moving silly season to a time in the year when racing is minimal, so that when a race weekend comes around, the focus is solely on the racing. Would this idea even work?
What is a transfer window?
For those reading this that follow football will be aware of what a transfer window is, so to those reading this please bare with. To those not familiar with what a transfer window is and how it works here is a brief explanation. A transfer window is a period of time usually consisting of a couple months where teams can sign and sell players (in this case it would be drivers), there is then a transfer 'deadline day', this is the final day of the transfer window for teams to complete their business.
Rumours like these are a typical example of what happens every season, even if they do come true! (Copyright: racefans.net)
How could it possibly work?
With each individual championship having very different calendars to each other it would be impossible and also unfair to have one time frame for the entire motoring world, in fact this concept would potentially only work for the highest tiered championships (F1, MotoGP, WEC, perhaps even the support categories for F1 and MotoGP respectively). Due to the F1 calendar this season being affected by COVID-19 I will use the 2018 and 2019 calendars as an example. The 2018 championship ended on the 25th November, and pre season for 2019 began on February 18th. The transfer window could begin on November 26th 2018 and end on February 4th 2019, a period of 10 weeks. This window could see drivers moving teams, up categories etc. The window could also be a time for teams to buy/sell mechanics and established team personnel (principal, crew chief for example). The window would end at for example 11pm on the 4th February. All deals will need to have been done by the deadline, this then gives teams who signed drivers on deadline day 2 weeks to introduce them to the team, PR, and things like seat fittings. The whole concept would only apply to teams who are looking for new drivers and personnel, contract renewals would still have to be done during the season. Again this is just a concept of how it could potentially work.
What would it bring to Motorsport?
The months of December and January are usually fairly quiet in the racing world, this would all change with a transfer window, it would bring more opportunities to broadcasters, sponsors, teams and most importantly the fans. Again using F1 as an example, fans wouldn't have the usual two month wait until the circus restarts, they would be getting a daily supply of new F1 news and content. It could even create job opportunities in social media as this concept would require a high demand of social media content, announcing deals and circulating rumours. A transfer window would also allow drivers to focus fully on the racing and not have to worry about rumours regarding them. Teams would also be able to assess a drivers final championship standing and full seasons performance before beginning potential negotiations. The concept would allow more focus to be on the racing rather than the rumours.
Will it get rid of 'silly season'?
Silly season is impossible to remove, this concept simply moves it to a time of the year when there is no racing, by doing this there is a constant supply of motorsport content, it allows focus to be entirely on the racing, and then entirely on the rumours and negotiations. The pre-race build up can then be focused on the racing more directly and potentially in more depth, it may even allow for more fan involved segments to involve the entire motoring community to make up the programme building up to the race start. Of course rumours will still be discussed, but if this concept were to be introduced it would hopefully reduce the volume of the discussions. Personally I would love to see this experimented, what do you think?