MotoGP motor cycle racing is highly skilled and is IMO far, far more exciting than Formula One which used to be the fastest/most expensive formula amongst multiple divisions and is now largely an inventors/engineers domain.
As others have noted different eras of racing cars (late 60's early 70's formula one for example) required very different skills and bravery levels.
David Coulthard drives Jim Clark's Lotus 25
lovely bit of informative film
There also seems to be a psychological thing happening, where riders are in general less consistent then previous seasons. There’s a lot of emotional toll happening to the riders.
Furthermore, lots of tech built in MotoGP sees itself trickle down consumer level motorcycles. There is a lot of competition going on in 400-1000cc sport/naked bikes for consumers leading to some really great bikes.
Ex- vehicle engineer at a three letter company.
Here’s a serene introduction for the uninitiated: https://youtu.be/zbaO8mzByvw
Once you’re done with that, search YouTube for “Isle of Man TT onboard” and prepare thyself.
this is what it looks like in action. https://jalopnik.com/don-t-feel-bad-if-you-get-passed-by-a-p...
Let's be honest; it's about the car. There is a reason Adrian Newey has won titles with 3 teams. There is a reason MClaren is going back to Mercedes. There is a reason why Toro Rosso only wins in the wet. There is a reason driver salaries are down. There is a reason we have 18 year old drivers.
I think the only way to go back to exciting racing is bringing back more variables. Less Tilke / new age tracks (more track diversity), refueling / more tire manufacturers and the like, go back to the old school points system, and get rid of these crazy stewards that are killing races like the one Vetell had in Canada. Have a technical regulations package that has a diminishing return past a certain amount of $ spent. Make it more about mechanical grip and less about aero.
I remember listening to a beyond the grid podcast with Juan Pablo Montoya. The host kept trying to pull the whole "what was it like to race with Michael" ooze fest. Juan simply stated he was in the best car, and when he was at Mercedes he didn't do that well. All the drivers on the grid are good. All of them. The difference between the champions is some skill and a lot of luck, and managers making the right moves.
Don't get me wrong; it takes skill. But (especially today) to say that drivers are not second place to the cars is somewhat ignorant. The only pair of teammates on the grid right now who have any legitimate gap are Albon and Verstappen. Other than that, it's par for the course.
> The only pair of teammates on the grid right now who have any legitimate gap are Albon and Verstappen. Other than that, it's par for the course.
Abon and Verstappen are no the only legitimate gaps; Leclerc vs Vettle and Ricc vs Ocon are also substantial.
A better driver can take 250ms off their team mate - something that would take multiple millions of dollars a year to obtain via regular engineering.
That said, I agree that a great driver such as Ricciardo has no chance to compete for the WDC in his car.
Of course, it is possible to make mechanical computers, but they are very costly to develop, heavy, take up lots of space, hard to modify, etc. Besides, it's a lost art.
Your idea would probably give us a great racing series, but it wouldn’t be Formula 1.
Going all mechanical would be going back to an era long gone. It would be difficult to attract funding for a formula racing series (not a spec series) based on obsolete technology.
That said, the early 1960s era of 1.5 liter V8 engines produced some of the most eloquent racing machines ever.
(I replaced it with an MSD ignition box.)
I didn't take the job if anyone was curious, for personal reasons. Too much travel required to F1 events..
Are you sure the engineers weren’t just petty little creatures trying to get some spotlight?
I can assure you that no engineer could win a race against either one. Additionally, Senna has proved that he do “well” with much inferior cars, there must be something going on there as well...
As someone who races every now and then for fun, I can assure you that there is skill involved and domain knowledge. A lot of domain knowledge.
You could turn that around and say that no F1 driver could design a car that would win in aero dominated F1 (mid 70s? onwards).
The car dominates in modern F1, you need look no further than the current Mercs.
Sure a good driver can outdrive the car but do you honestly think that Hamilton would've won in 2015's McLaren?
Early on, we were limited to 50 mph, and were sent out to practice racing lines around Watkins Glen. We thought we were hot stuff wheeling hard around the turns.
Then the instructor told us to get in the van and he'd drive us around giving us pointers. He drove with his left hand on the wheel, and his body turned around facing backwards at us while he lectured us. He was sliding the van around the turns at 70 mph, and I doubt his heart rate exceeded 70 BPM.
It was a very humbling experience.
He used techniques that helped the car to use the maximum possible grip, avoiding sliding or throttle partialisation
For example at Monza, in times of manual gear, he could switch from 4th to 5th in between the two turns of Lesmo, nobody else could, it meant gaining a tenth of a second every single lap and the pole position
For reference, this is how Senna throttle technique sounded at Monza's parabolica
That does not actually show the drivers regularly do stupid things or that it would be easy for human to stop doing things the engineers considered stupid.
No one is gonna put Albon or Giovinazzi in the Mercedes and think "he'll be fine, we'll still win". Hamilton and Schumacher kinda put themselves up there to be in the position to dominate with the right team of engineers. They put themselves up there with their driving and team building skills.
Hamilton is a very different story - let's face it, he is the silver spoon boy. I really don't think there's a single person in F1 history who had it as easy as he did. While Michael was always riding with one foot over the edge of the rules.
It's not to say that all of them aren't incredibly talented. But it does seem to me that for most of them circumstances played a much bigger role than their actual skills. Hence the reason why I wouldn't rule out either Albon or Giovinazzi as potential champions.
If you follow F1, you'll know that there are far more variables than this:
1. The cars perform differently at different tracks, due to their fundamental design
2. The setup is often a balance of qualifying pace and race pace, and teams may approach this differently
3. The cars are constantly developed during the season (with improvements are somewhat unpredictable) meaning the balance of power in a season can shift
> Leclerc with all his lack of experience and poor judgement at times, slaughtered Hamilton in qualifying.
Not sure that 7 vs. 5 pole positions is "slaughtered". Over the season, LH comfortably out-qualified everyone , and of course comfortably out-raced them as well .
> That genuinely makes me question if Hamilton's success isn't largely a consequence of Merc's well known superiority. On that topic, I think even Bottas has all the qualities and skills to beat Hamilton but he is mentally losing the battle. Imagine if Hamilton had to face someone like Leclerc, Vettel, Sainz, Russel, or even Raikkonen despite his age or even Riccardo or Hulkenberg. If you look at the biography of each one of those, they had it considerably more difficult than Hamilton.
We're so far apart on this, it's probably not worth continuing much further. But I strongly agree with the other person who replied to you: Hamilton hasn't "had it easy" - he's put himself in strong positions (McLaren, then Mercedes) and has been supported by strong people (Dennis, Lauda, Wolff, etc.) because he's seen as the best overall driver on the grid (qualifying, racing, speed, tyre management, racing temperament, developing and setting up a car, adaptability to different cars & driving styles, etc.). During Hamilton's time, probably only Alonso (IMO) comes as close as such a complete package.
Ultimately, F1 is a dog-eat-dog world. If Hamilton didn't make himself valuable to his team bosses through his performances --didn't make it totally in their interest to continue to employ him-- they'd drop him and move on to someone else. So ultimately, either you're saying that multiple smart successful team bosses are wrong... or maybe Hamilton really is that good.
Christian von Koenigsegg is my soul brother. Engineer/CEO committed to excellence in extreme automotive manufacturing like:
- Cam-less heads (which I was always wondered why they didn't exist when I was kid 25 years ago because it would trounce VVTI).
- Complete carbon fibre wheels
- Optimized hybrid EV testbed models
- In-house, scratch-build EMS
- Highly-efficient (power per weight) motors
- Shooting for straight course speed world record
- Incredible styling and aerodynamics
It's not surprising to me that they're at the top.
The in-car footage of Fangio is breathtaking.
I think this severely understates the skill of some of the highest paid athletes on the planet.
Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey were 2 epic motorcyclists in the 90s. Schwantz had more individual wins, but it was Rainey that had more championships titles, because he was more consistent in his races and made fewer mistakes (Even Schwantz admits this in an interview)
We've seen this in a lot of different sports over the decades- as the field of play elevates, the variance from athlete to athlete shrinks.
The cars are very similar but obviously not the same in the sense that Verstappens car will be tweaked to his preferences, and Albons to his within the relevant regulations.
So engineering still comes into play.
On top of that Verstappen being the lead driver means that alot of engineering effort is geared towards giving him specifically the car he needs, with his teammate having to adapt within that framework.
> The cars are very similar but obviously not the same in the sense that Verstappens car will be tweaked to his preferences, and Albons to his within the relevant regulations.
There's the difference. Red Bull have built a car they believe is the fastest they can build. Verstappen is able to extract the most from that. If Albon doesn't "prefer it", then that's his failing, a failing that Verstappen demonstrably does not have.
> On top of that Verstappen being the lead driver means that alot of engineering effort is geared towards giving him specifically the car he needs, with his teammate having to adapt within that framework.
Why is he the lead driver? Because he's a generational talent.
1) Combustion or electric engines only, no jets or rocket boosters
2) Should fit within a box of certain height-width-depth
3) No human drivers, only remote or AI
4) No type of weapons, or ramming, etc. Only pure speed.
I think that would have been an interesting race to watch.
At least if you have greater technical freedom, there’s the chance for someone from a less-funded team to concoct the next double-diffuser, as there’s probably less of a link between budget and sparks of innovation.
What I want is a race were all the cars don’t look identical.
And it's ERS not KERS these days.
But don't forget, some drivers are excellent engineers by themselves, which was ie critical for Ferrari to get proper feedback from testing to R&D. In older times they didn't have simulators as everyone else, they always tested in real conditions on their home track Maranello. Or look at Niki Lauda's famous feedback and analysis qualities. You don't get that just from engineering.
Another important aspect: budget. Money can buy better simulation and engineering, which you cannot really compete with. That's why it needs to be so heavily regulated.
The best drivers make it to the top, but that's it. Alonso only won 2 and he was just as good as Lewis and Schumacher (arguably better considering what he could do in cars of almost any quality, lewis had a bad car once his entire career)
But yeh these GOAT conversations better with beers and stakes and people yelling at each other in person!
but agreed, this is true in any sport, there's no real way to compare across eras and in the end it's just opinion.
I agree, cross-generation driver comparisons are really hard.
Too bad he wasn't as good a skier:
If you mean software engineers, I think your point is only partially valid. There is room for improvement in other areas as well, such as controls, aerodynamics, energy, materials to name a few.
Formula E + remote pilots
I watch it because I drive/drove race cars. I love auto-racing. I love the noise, the personalities, and most importantly the cars.
I can't answer your question, really. If there isn't any draw to watch it, you probably just don't enjoy it. No shame in that.
I don't really understand why people watch football/basketball/soccer; but I understand why I don't get it -- I have no interest in the sports.
My father watches the Tour de France every year. He was an extremely in-depth established cyclist for years and years.
When I watch the Tour with him, I fall asleep. He falls asleep if I put him through auto-racing.
I think it's the same kind of thing.
If it's any consolation : your problem is a widespread one. The FIA is trying to make it more spectator-interesting next year by establishing a big wall of rule changes.
I don't know why I watch the every single race. I got into it because I liked the engine noise. I happened to see young Kimi Raikkonen getting into the McLaren car. That was a nice story to follow. I started to pickup other stories. Newey moving to Red Bull, rule changes, Alonso moving to Ferrari, Vettel moving to Ferrari and here I am.
At first, it is just cars trying to be faster than the other which can be quite boring for 305km. But, when my father-in-law starts talking about the different strategies and choices being made, it puts a lot more color to what is happening. For instance, which tires to use (they have different types), when to do pit stops, how hard to push during different segments of the race, when to overtake, etc. Also, throw in some driver/team drama in the mix and you have some interesting meta game going on.
Similarly in basketball, it is just a bunch of people running up and down the court trying to get the ball in the hoop more than the other team. Kind of boring. However, the strategies, plays and player personalities/drama that get you to the end result make it more interesting. When to full court press, when should a foul be made, when to rotate players, etc.
It gets much more interesting once the rules/strategies are clear. In F1, I think it takes a little longer to get to that point because sometimes the action can be spread out over a longer period. It is interesting to see what choices are being made in different situations.
It also doesn’t help that one team currently has the best car by a very significant margin. They also have the best driver, and the two teams that were closest to them have fallen further behind this season (one significantly further behind).
The midfield battles are actually still quite exciting though. Those cars are a lot closer together in terms of performance, and if anything happens to one of the top 3 drivers, you can see somebody fighting for a potentially career first podium. Which is why the TV coverage will barely cover the front of the pack in most races, because the front 3 cars typically spend the whole race driving at the end of each other dirty air without fighting each other at all.
This post is very highly subjective though. This year you have LeClerc making the Ferrari (which is widely regarded as a very bad car at the moment) actually look good, and his team mate (4 time world champion Sebastian Vettel) is making it look terrible. It’s been the same story at Red Bull with Verstappen and all of his recent team mates. You’ve also got the best and worst team running the same engine.
As a side note, Kimi is currently driving one of the worst cars on the grid, so you probably wouldn’t expect much excitement from him.
It's either about childhood memories of seeing it, remembering your friends that are far away, or having deep technical knowledge about the cars or something like that.
I used to think I didn't really like sports until I started going to bars to see Starcraft II matches. I still have good memories about it and my friends back then.
And sure, some sports have more action than others, but at the end of the day, people have feelings and sports can deeply affect people. That's not a very logical answer, but I hope others can vouch that it sorta makes sense.
It provides a view that normal TV doesn’t give you, but will have you watch the regular TV broadcast of races with very different eyes.
The Economist had an excellent article about the NFL's structure, and how it operates like a cartel, pressuring cities with varies financial threats and incentives.
If you let yourself go into the fiction of sports teams, and don't think about it too much, you can have very strong (and hopefully positive) emotional experiences.
> all teams are owned by the same business
What do you mean? Each team has a different owner.
> So for example the San Francisco 49ers have very little to do with San Francisco, except for the name'
In many geographical regions, you grow up watching the team that is closest in proximity. e.g. I grew up in rural western New York State and I grew up watching the Buffalo Bills because they were the closest franchise despite being 100 miles away.
The name is just a semantic. Would you be happier if the 49ers were called the "Northern California 49ers"?
Overtaking is particularly exciting but there is less of it now, because being behind another car means turbulence and modern cars are too aerodynamically sensitive. Also, nowadays a few big teams dominate and there is no hope for the underdog.
Even now, though, playing a racing game will make it clear how difficult it is to drive these cars and that makes the boring parts of the race more compelling to watch.
Sort of like how I watch Cricket actually
I once spent 5 days watching a test match at the basin reserve in Wellington, fueled with plenty of beer.
From day 4 it was obvious the match was heading for a draw and so it did.
- It's televised Sunday mornings (at least here in America), and it's way more interesting than anything else on at that time.
- It's a soap opera/drama, but socially acceptable for men to watch. You've got all the classic story tropes there (intra-/inter-team rivalries, underdog/favorite, hotshot newcomer/grizzled veteran, rich vs poor, etc.)
- People are inherently intrigued by man + machine collaborations, kids too. I didn't appreciate this until I hung around my friends' kids, and saw their amazement at any moving vehicle. Then I remembered, yes, I was once one of those kids.
With that said, I think F1 as a motorsport is pretty boring.
- If you're in it for the racing, I'd rather watch Indycar, which has the same or better racing with open-wheeled cars at 1/10th the price.
- If you're in it to see car technology translate to your road car, probably should watch a GT series instead.
- If you're in it for the technological innovation, none of those things get shared to viewers. As a data person, I would love to see how the sausage gets made, like how they translate learnings from the simulator to the real track, or the the trial & error in tweaking their aero or engine configs, CFD, etc. But for obvious sporting reasons, they can't. Like you can notice that Mclaren's nose is different, you just don't know why. Knowing why is the more interesting part IMO.
Many of that changes to the F1 rules in the last 10-15 have been an attempt to create more overtaking and "drama", but unfortunately as you said it hasn't really worked out that way.
More often than not races are won with good strategy and pit stops, not overtaking or interesting battles on the track.
Dad and I used to watch it a lot back around the late 90s/early 00s. These days I watch zero.
You see things differently when you know how they work.
The cars largely determine the success of the endeavor. It's often that following qualifying, the grid is composed of team cars side-by-side for at least the first few rows. There are exceptional drivers who break the pattern and all but carry the car around on their back like Verstappen and Leclerc.
The car technology is genuinely fascinating to me, but I'm a gearhead anyway.
But it is not like you can't appreciate other drivers. See the magnitude of difference in result that Verstappen is able to add. I think he is probably the best driver right now in F1.
You can increase your ability to empathize with the athletes by playing the sport. I couldn't have cared less about the NBA until I started playing pick up.
I still don't watch sports though. There are usually better things to do.
Some reasons are more personal than others but here's my take (although I haven't been watching in the past 3 years):
1. Nostalgia, I used to watch F1 every race as a kid with my dad (we never had sports pay tv, and F1 was broadcasted free as opposed to soccer [I'm european]); we used to watch Moto GP too for that same reason and this are the only 2 motorsport I actually would still watch, I don't really have interest in any other, so this might be the most important factor.
2. races used to be more exciting, objectively: a combo of less technical/financial differences between teams, less safety rules, old school tracks (that seem to be better suited for overtakes for some reason) made it so that more drivers were able to compete for each specific position. Financial standing of a certain team is nowadays the number 1 predictor of success. Give today's mercedes to most drivers that can be called F1 drivers with a straight face and after getting to know the car they are going to do well, even compete with Hamilton. Same thing was probably true with Schumacher once he got to Ferrari (that was my nostalgia time, so it hurts to say): yes he was exceptional but 80% was the car (and arguably his ability to communicate what he/it needed to the engineers), 10% his instinct on setup/aerodynamic, 10% him being truly unique (at the time) on wet conditions.
3. pit stops, used to be more exciting (and dangerous with fuel refill) I suppose but I think it still brings a sparkle to the race, strategy and actual timing of the stops are a big moment that can make or break a driver race
4. one race is not a good measure for determining the overall excitement for the season: first of all there are better races and worse races; then overall there is some excitement from how much risk taking and calculation are involved in a race depending of current championship standings. Also, if you are so inclined there is drama in between races (usually not into that personally)
5. last, you said you followed Raikonnen: if you literally just watched 1 driver (not sure if it's possible, but I think so) by setting the camera only on his car, I'm sure you were doomed to boredom, the "race as a whole" is at least a bit fun on every race, but the race of a single driver? probably booooring: 2 hours and unless the driver somehow is fighting all the times (good car but classified last somehow?) there's going to be a lot of nothing going on.
Also races with mixed weather are very unpredictable and add a huge variable, making for usually awesome races in my opinion. Unfortunately they don't happen very often.
> Our statistical model finds that neither Lewis Hamilton nor Michael Schumacher is Formula 1’s greatest driver
So its lame to play the racist card here.
The cars are from the same engineering firm.
They are setup by different teams of people, worked on by different teams of people, and maintained by different teams of people. There is overlap, of course, but the cars' basically have their own groups individually for specific tuning/troubleshooting/telemetrics.
If you think Valteri is getting the best and fastest crew to work on his car, the question turns into "Why would Mercedes use their best and brightest on their second in points?"
The point is : there isn't a handicapped car per se, but one of the two teams that gravitate around the drivers' is better at it's job -- thus, one of the cars has an edge.
It's a simple concept, but it has to be true. Mercedes can't simply clone their driver-centric teams over and stamp them to both sides -- so they have to prioritize their better driver having the faster team with more skill and better communication.
Sucks for Valteri, but as we've seen race after race -- he gets by just fine.
But if you can’t drive at the car’s max, you won’t win.
Just like a poorly trained athlete with perfect genetics won’t win. But comparing great athletes, the one with best genetics wins.