France GP Motorcycle Racing

Like it or not, when it comes to brass tacks, motorsports is a business. To keep racing, the teams need to make money, and, generally speaking, the winnings from a victory aren't going to cover the expenses. The reality is that teams need sponsorship to survive. For decades, much of that funding in the top rungs came from tobacco advertising (like the Winston Cup or Michael Schumacher's Marlboro-sponsored Ferrari). But today, that's illegal in most places, and energy drink companies have so far been happy to fill the void. An intriguing editorial on Asphalt and Rubber warns teams not to get too used to this recent stream of funding, though, because the same fate could befall these caffeinated drinks in the future as did cigarettes in the past.

The article focuses specifically on MotoGP. In that series, Red Bull (which also operates two separate Formula 1 teams) and Monster Energy are the title sponsors of 5 of the 18 races, plus several riders and teams. They aren't alone, though. Other energy drink companies are providing sponsorship, as well. The issue is that the sugary beverages are facing bans to people under 18 in several European countries and are already prohibited to young folks in Lithuania. If an outright ban actually happens, it might make all of this expensive racing sponsorship far less attractive to the companies because they wouldn't have nearly as many people to advertise to.

While the story pays definite attention to Europe, it does cite the American Medical Association as also lobbying to ban energy drinks for minors in the US. It's an interesting take on a motorsports situation that is rarely considered. If you're a fan of racing, especially on bikes, the editorial is definitely worth a read.