|A very expensive traffic jam|
I just finished watching the F1 parade in Monte Carlo. Watching the massive, modern F1 cars (so wide they practically fill the road) following each other through the streets of Monte Carlo reminded me why I’ve been watching MotoGP instead. It’s not uncommon to see multiple lead changes on a single lap in MotoGP, and dozens of mid-field overtakings during a race. It’s uncommon to see any lead changes in an F1 race and a driver climbing through the field has become a rarity. At Monte Carlo this morning the only overtaking was political.
I started watching F1 during Michael Schumacher‘s rookie year and followed him all the way through his career. My favourite race of his was ’94 in Spain where he managed second place while stuck in one gear. Spain a couple of years later was a master class in keeping an F1 car on the pavement in torrential rain. While the engineering is interesting in F1 it’s not why I watched it regularly for over two decades, it was because of the brilliance of the drivers.
I’m now into my second season of watching Motogp. The first race I watched had a resurgent 34(!) year old Valentino Rossi chasing the astonishing Marc Marquez (beginning a record breaking run of wins) to a one two finish with multiple lead changes in a single lap.
In one of the early races an announcer mentioned how in Formula One the car is the majority of the equation whereas in Motogp the rider is the key component. From that moment on I made an effort to understand the complexities of riding a race bike. Motosports that are decided by operator skill over engineering prowess (and budget) are what I’m into. Schumi got that second place in Spain driving a second tier car. When he started winning championships with a massive budget I was less interested.
Watching the parade around Monte Carlo reminded me of why I enjoy the bikes more. With the rider such a big part of the equation, you’ll see human excellence much more clearly on two wheels than you will with four. There is much less between a rider and the road than there is between a driver and the road. While one is wrestling with their machine the other is setting suspension settings and adjusting engine maps.
With the Isle of Man TT coming up I’ll also be able to see bikes battling on public roads just as the F1 cars didn’t do on the streets of Monte Carlo. You see a lot of precision in Monte Carlo but you don’t see the breath taking bravery that you’ll see in the TT. If you’ve never watched one before, give it a go.
This has me thinking about vehicle dynamics and the differences between motorcycles and cars… fodder for my next post…
|From Tony Foale’s Motorcycle Handling & Chasis Design: a must read if you’re curious about motorbike dynamics|
Formula One vs. Motogp: vehicle comparison
F1 car mechanical and aerodynamic forces
Applying the fluid dynamics of F1 aerodynamics to motorcycle racing
The Physics of Motorbikes
Which is faster? F1 or MotoGP (by F1 fanatics)