A call to arms – dire threat to motorsport’s future in Europe

10 October 2017

The motorsport industry and sport is facing a very serious and immediate problem and your help is needed.

We have until 20 October to respond to an important EC consultation, details of which are below. If we fail to secure the amendment we seek then the likely outcome is that all motorsport activity, in every EU Member State, will cease. This is not an idle threat.

All involved in the business and organisation of European motorsport need to act NOW to overcome this genuine threat to our own future and that of our employees and sport, from the unintended consequences of action taken by the European Commission (EC).

The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), along with others including the UK Department for Transport, has been fighting to resolve this issue for more than two years.

In simple terms, the EC plans to issue a new Motor Insurance Directive, as a result of which all EU Member States must put into their National Law compulsory and unlimited third-party liability insurance to cover personal injury between motorsport competitors and car-to-car damage during any competition – from Formula 1, Moto GP, World Rally to karting, historic and grassroots, whether regulated by the FIA or FIM or not.

However, such widespread unlimited new insurance is not currently, and, the MIA understands, will not in the future be available – so motorsport will be unable to continue anywhere in the EU. Please read the summary below if you wish to fully understand the serious nature of this problem.

Please respond by 20th OCTOBER to the EC Review Consultation:

By using the simple ‘MIA Response Guidelines’ (see below) this will take LESS THAN 10 MINUTES –  a short time commitment to keep motorsport alive, and the jobs it supports, in place.

If motorsport was to cease, how many jobs will be lost directly from your organisation and indirectly by your suppliers or the sport, as this significant economic impact will influence the European Commission.

We ask that you help our community by sending this email request , and its attachments, to your most influential EU-based motorsport business and sporting contacts, urgently.

We really must work together to make the European Commission fully aware of the economic importance of motorsport and the employment which our sport and industry provides across the European Union.

MIAs complete overview of the Vnuk issue and its potential to destroy the future of motorsport.

Could the European Commission’s (EC) Motor Insurance Directive end EU and UK Motorsport?

Yes – an unintended consequence of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d. (case C-162/13)1 is that motorsport vehicles and drivers are now required to be covered by unlimited third-party motor insurance during competition.

If the EC’s Motor Insurance Directive is not amended, this ruling could end motorsport in the EU and UK.

The MIA offers a solution below which needs


The Vnuk case (C-162/13)

In August 2007, a farmer, on a tractor with a trailer attached, was reversing in the farmyard to position the trailer in a barn, when it struck a ladder on which Mr Vnuk had climbed, causing him to fall.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked to confirm whether the circumstances of Mr Vnuk’s accident (i.e. the use of a tractor as a machine rather than as transport and whilst being in a farmyard) fell within the duty to insure a vehicle, as required under the existing Motor Insurance Directive.

The CJEU ruled that ‘any use of a vehicle, consistent with its normal function’  was required to be insured under Article 3.1 of the EC Directive.

As using a tractor to manoeuvre a trailer on a farmyard is consistent with ‘the normal function of that vehicle’, the CJEU confirmed Mr Vnuk’s accident should have been covered by third party insurance but were silent about the farmyard so it is widely assumed the Directive extends to use on private land. A vehicle is defined, widely, in the Directive (Article 1.1) as ‘any motor vehicle intended for travel on land and propelled by mechanical power, but not running on rails, and any trailer, whether or not coupled’.

Difficult issues for Motorsport

This CJEU ruling makes unlimited third-party insurance compulsory for anyone using any form of motorised transport in any location in EU Member States. This includes all participants in all forms of motorsport – cars, motorbikes, karts, drag, rally etc. at all levels from grassroots to Formula 1, whether regulated or unregulated. This compulsory, unlimited insurance must cover all third-party damage, eg personal injury to other competitors and any damage to their vehicles, damage to property and injury to marshals etc.

Additionally, the EC Motor Insurance Directive has many exacting requirements, all of which must be met for the compulsory insurance to be compliant. These include:

  • the policy must provide liability cover that meets, at least, the minimum levels specified either in the Directive, or in National Law of each EU Member State if higher (Article 9)
  • the insurer must appoint claims representatives in every EU Member State (Article 21)
  • the creation of an Information Centre in every EU Member State to keep a register of all vehicles (including motorsport) and details of the associated insurance covering each vehicle (Article 23)
  • If a motorsport vehicle is not insured, the National Guarantee Fund in that Member State must pay full property damage or personal injury compensation to the third-party victim (Article 24)

Even if there is some insurance cover in place now, it will not be sufficient in future if:

  • it only covers liability claims for injury to third parties and not cover car-to-car damage claims; or
  • it only covers injury to spectators and marshals and not race competitors; or…
  • it provides less than the Directive’s minimum level of €6million cover for personal injury claims

(nb – the National Law in many Member States applies a far higher level); or

  • the National Guarantee Fund is not obliged to pay the claim in the event the insurance obligation hasn’t been met

Each Member State is required, by the Directive, to take all appropriate measures to ensure these insurance requirements are complied with. If they don’t enforce these requirements then they are not compliant with the Directive (eg if there are no insurance checks on vehicles or consequences for the vehicle user for not being insured).

The Directive allows Member States to exempt or derogate from the motor insurance requirement (a) certain types of vehicle and (b) certain vehicles having a special plate. So Member States could exempt motorsport vehicles from the requirement of the Directive, but this does not mean the liability goes away.

In the event of a claim where such ‘derogated’ vehicles are in use, it will fall to either the National Guarantee Fund (ie Motor Insurers Bureau in the UK), or a similar organisation, to compensate the victim from a central fund. Hence, if motorsport vehicles were exempted, the subsequent cost of the many claim arising from motorsport activities will dramatically increase the amount of compensation being paid by one of these funding options (eg MIB in the UK) so requiring a significant increase in the size of the fund.

This would transfer the cost of this solution onto the insurance of road-going motorists and be unfair when considering the high risk which competitive motorsport use represents, when compared to the normal use of a road-going motor vehicle. By working closely with Member States following the ruling, it is understood that, currently, none have a system which complies with the interpretation of the EC Directive given by the Vnuk ruling. In addition, insurers, including specialists in the London market, have failed to confirm how much it would cost to provide this new compulsory third party cover for motorsport but many have stated that such a level of risk is effectively uninsurable or, if made available, would be at a cost no participant could afford and so motorsport would cease.

‘Principles of precedent’ mean the CJEU interpretation of Article 3.1 took immediate effect in September 2014. Member States are now legally obliged to change their National Law to ensure the full effect of the Directive and the Vnuk ruling is implemented, so motorsport cannot ignore these dangers.

An immediate opportunity for motorsport to resolve this issue – before October 20th

As the European Commission are currently undertaking a better regulation ‘REFIT’ review of the whole Motor Insurance Directive  We have until 20th October, to deliver maximum support for an amendment to the Directive which restricts the SCOPE of this proposed third party motor insurance to being ‘applicable in the context of traffic only’.

The Commission offers FOUR options for Amendment in their Review, of which the best, by far, limits the scope of compulsory third party motor insurance to only those accidents caused by motor vehicles ’in the context of traffic’.

Traffic is defined as being where ‘the use of a vehicle for the transport of persons or goods, whether stationary or in motion, in areas where the public has access, in accordance with national law’. This amendment will reflect current insurance requirements in many Member States, who then are free to choose to have more substantial or extensive insurance requirements, in their National Law, for motorsport and/or other activities but without compulsion from the European Commission to do so.

To do nothing, or to implement any of the other options offered by the Commission, will mean the closure of motorsport activities across the EU and significantly impact all motorists and the insurance industry.

It is NOW vital that ALL motorsport organisations, from every EU Member State, respond by 20 OCTOBER to this REFIT review consultation and support the simple amendment offered.

The MIA has published easy to follow guidance on how to respond to this on so please refer to this. For any questions, please email


See the Advocate General’s opinion in case C-334/16

EU Commission

Public consultation on REFIT Review of Directive

2009/103/EC on motor insurance (VNUK)

Response guidance from the MIA

Your response before 20 October is VITAL

To enter your answers and respond to this consultation will take no more than TEN minutes if you use each step this MIA guidance as a base for your response. You could even ‘cut and paste’ some of the words we provide to reduce this time if you wish. Please email if you have any questions.

Please note – only responses received through this EU Commission online questionnaire will be taken into account and included in the report summarising the responses. They ask that you indicate the expected economic or social impact on your organisation’s activities and provide ‘evidence’ if possible.

Step 1

Go to this EU Commission webpage

Step 2

Under ‘View the Questionnaire’…Click the link – ‘Respond to the Consultation’

Step 3 

  1. a) Read the information which is given then click … ‘next’
  2. b) Complete Section 1. Information about you as follows…
  3. Under ‘are you replying as:’ … select ‘an organisation or company’
  4. Under ‘where are you based’ … chose the country of your HQ or main operations.
  5. Under ‘field of activity or sector:’ … select ‘other’…. then click ‘next’
  6. c) Under ‘Important Notice on the publishing of responses’ – select your own choice of response
  7. d) Then click… ‘next’

Step 4

 Under Section 2. ‘Your opinion’…

Scroll down through Section A to reach ‘Section B – Questions to Businesses, Business and Consumer Association…continue scrolling down until you reach ‘B.2.7. SCOPE’ – and read the detail associated with the Scope section

 Step 5

 You only need to answer Questions 27, 28, 29, 30, 31and 32. Our suggested responses which cover the essential issues follow. Please change these to suit your business and add additional comments to your answers, as you wish.

Q27: Answer – ‘No… it should only apply to public roads, not private property’.

Q28: Answer – ‘No – exempting/derogating motorsport vehicles from the requirement of the Directive does not mean the liability goes away. The number of accidents between motorsport vehicles is far more regular than in traffic conditions due to the competition. In the event of a claim where ‘derogated/exempted vehicles’ are in use, it falls to either the National Guarantee Fund, or a similar organisation, to compensate the victim from a central fund. So if motorsport vehicles were to be exempted, the subsequent cost of claims arising uninsured motorsport activities would dramatically increase the amount of compensation being paid by one of these funding options (eg. MIB in the UK), so requiring a significant increase in the size of the fund being raised from road-user insurance.

Transferring the cost of this solution, arising from accidents in motorsport, onto the road-going motorist would be unfair when considering the increased risk which competitive motorsport use represents when compared to the normal use of a road-going motor vehicle.

Q29: Answer – ‘All vehicles used for motorsport activities’

Q30: Answer – ‘No – motorsport activities should not be covered by compulsory Motor Third Party Liability (MTPL) insurance’

Q31: Answer – ‘No…. compulsory Motor Third Party Liability (MTPL) insurance should not cover accidents that occur in areas which the public are not allowed to access’

Q32: THIS IS YOUR VERY IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY to explain the impact on your organisation if motorsport ceased across the EU and the UK due to their being no availability of the required insurance. Please show what job and sales revenue will be lost, directly and indirectly. Some of the words below may help you to answer this question.

– As no Motor Third Party Liability (MTPL) insurance will be available to cover motorsport activities, motorsport would cease to exist. As a direct result, XXX employees would lose their jobs in my organisation and many more jobs would be lost in my XXX suppliers in the EU and the UK. The forced closure of European motorsport will be a direct consequence of this Directive unless the wording is amended as requested.

– It is estimated, by the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), that more than €25 billion of sales in motorsport would be lost across EU member states and, based on their research in 2000/02/13/14, some 50,000 motorsport-related jobs will be lost in the UK alone and tens of thousands more throughout EU Member States.

– We strongly support your Option 3 as being the correct interpretation and that the place of use should be defined as being ‘in traffic only’, as defined in the REFIT review of the Motor Insurance Directive Impact Assessment. It is not the ‘function of the vehicle’ which matters but the ‘place of the vehicle’ is in use.

– Principle 6 of the IOC’s Olympic Charter specifically states “the practice of sport is a human right”.

The EU’s revised European Sports Charter of 2001 confirmed the importance and social value of sport and their European Economic and Social Committee in 2011 stated “sport contributes to the cultural and social life for both the individual and society as a whole”

– In Article 6 and Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the importance of sport is legally acknowledged, and the promotion of sport as an EU objective is emphasized. Article 165 calls on the EU to “contribute to the promotion of sporting issues, while taking into account the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function”.

Step 6

Then Click…’next’ …then click ‘Submit’ … your response has now been submitted to the EU Commission.

Please note – your complete response must be sent by 20 October 2017.



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