The timing of the Olympic Games in Rio couldn’t be better for racing fans.
In F1’s three-week summer break, we’ve got plenty of sport to keep us occupied before the grand prix season resumes at the end of the month in Belgium, while IndyCar’s lull between Mid-Ohio and Pocono has also come at a good time.
Naturally, the focus on Rio has led to the four-yearly debate as to why motorsport isn’t an Olympic event.
The closest thing we currently have to a nation versus nation battle is the Race of Champions, last won by England in London last November.
A1 GP was a series based entirely on nations going head-to-head, and proved to be a decent feeder series, with the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Oliver Jarvis, Loic Duval, Marco Andretti, JR Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball all racing before it folded in 2009.
So in the absence of motorsport at the Olympic Games, we have to play ‘what would be’.
Here’s how the medal tables would look like in Formula 1 and IndyCar, based on the results in 2016 so far.
Naturally, a first-place finish equals a gold medal, with silver for second and bronze for third.
When it comes to F1, it’s worth noting that the Olympic-style medals system was actually considered ahead of the 2009 season.
Bernie Ecclestone wanted to place a greater emphasis on winning races so that drivers would not just settle for second, so suggested that the champion be whichever driver won the most grands prix.
The idea was ultimately binned – thankfully, as Jenson Button won six of the opening seven races that year and would have wrapped up the title with three races to spare.
So what would the 2016 medals table look like?
Just as in the actual drivers’ championship, Great Britain is on top thanks to Lewis Hamilton. His six victories in the past seven races vault Team GB ahead of Germany, the three-time world champion being responsible for all nine of its medals.
Germany is one of just two nations on the table to have more than one driver contributing to its haul, which is, in fact, more than Great Britain’s. Nico Rosberg offers five golds, a silver and a bronze, Sebastian Vettel chipping in with three silvers and two bronzes.
Despite only winning four medals, the Netherlands sits third thanks to Max Verstappen’s victory in Spain. Finland follows in fourth, its medals being split between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo has been in superb form this season, sitting third in the drivers’ championship, but he has scored just three podium finishes to put Australia fifth in the medals table. Only Mexico (two bronzes via Sergio Perez) and Russia (one bronze thanks to Daniil Kvyat) rank lower.
Despite having a greater number of different podium finishers (14) through the season than F1 (9), IndyCar’s medals table still only features seven nations – but only one appears on both tables: Australia.
Much like F1, the leading nation in the drivers’ championship is the leading nation in the medals table.
Simon Pagenaud’s four victories have put him in prime position to win a maiden IndyCar title with three-and-a-half races to run, and it is also enough to give France top spot. However, his contribution is aided by Sebastien Bourdais’ victory in Detroit.
Australia sits second thanks to Will Power, with all but one bronze (scored with P3 in Long Beach) coming in the past five races.
Team USA has more medals than any other nation (9), but just two wins – Alexander Rossi at the Indianapolis 500 and Josef Newgarden in Iowa – means it sits third in the table. The silvers come courtesy of Graham Rahal and Conor Daly.
Colombia benefits from having multiple drivers on the grid to sit fourth, the decisive third-place finish to move it clear of New Zealand/Scott Dixon coming from Carlos Munoz last time out in Mid-Ohio.
Olympic host nation Brazil has four medals via Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, while Canada ranks seventh thanks to James Hinchcliffe.