Formula One and Moto GP are both the pinnacles of racing. F1 is the most illustrious, glorious and glamorous four-wheel championship in the world. Moto GP is the edgiest, thrill-a-minute, unpredictable two-wheel series on earth. Both competition’s trace their heritage to the European heartlands. They are also two global behemoths in the sporting landscape. However, despite their similarities, F1 and Moto GP are incredibly different. It’s worth taking a look at what they share and what makes them highly unique.
Difference – Wheel to Wheel Action
If you desire overtakes and wheel-to-wheel racing, Moto GP serves it up by the bucket-full. Inherently, there are some advantages; the bikes are smaller, they are less likely to get affected by aerodynamic turbulence, and the rider can jostle the bike in close combat. F1 is arguably the hardest motorsport for overtaking. The cars are too big, too broad and too long. They are also dramatically hampered by the aero wake coming off the back of the vehicle in front.
Conversely, Moto GP is world-famous for its intense racing battles. Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi waged an unforgettable war at Laguna Seca. Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso created a tapestry to racing with their epic duels at the Red Bull Ring and Motegi. Those are just some of the examples of the stunning racing that Moto GP provides.
On the other hand, F1 does not provide that style of non-stop racing on every lap. Occasionally, battles stand the test of time; Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen in Austria 2019 was a brilliant showcase of attack and defence. The young chargers then stepped it up with an unforgettable squabble at Silverstone. It was legendary. Sadly, those battles are few and far between. It is frustratingly challenging to overtake in modern F1. The addition of the DRS plaster has aided, although it is highly erratic from race to race. At some events, it is too powerful; at others, it doesn’t work at all. F1 will hope that the imminent arrival of the next-generation 2022 car will change things in the overtaking stakes.
Similarity – The Athletes Are Real Life Superheroes
Motor racing is dangerous; it is an inescapable truth of the business. Therefore, whenever the riders and drivers suit up for a race, they know the risks and the possible consequences. Racers are not normal human beings; they are wired daredevils who risk everything for glory. Marc Marquez’s recent return to the winner’s party is a perfect illustration of the extra-terrestrial behaviours that racers display. Nothing compares to watching Marquez, all elbows and knees, as he manhandles his machine as if it was some violent ballet.
F1 drivers are the same. They hop in and subject themselves to massive G-force’s, eye-watering speeds and face-melting braking forces. Seeing Lewis Hamilton set a pole position lap on the limit is one of the highlights in world sport. It feels like he’s battling against the laws of physics as he tries to go faster and faster. Add the dangers that motor racing provides to the pilot’s skill and bravery; you get a very special sportsperson. Anyone that puts a helmet on in the name of racing is a real-life superhero. The drivers and riders are the stars, rightly so. Lewis Hamilton, Valentino Rossi, Max Verstappen and Jack Miller are modern-day daredevils risking it all for victory and our entertainment. Normal sportspeople don’t compare to racers.
Difference – The Sensation of Speed
Speed is one of the hardest things for TV cameras to convey. It is why a 100mph baseball pitcher looks so sedate. However, there is one sport that bucks the trend; Formula One. When Formula One cars whizz past the camera lens, the sensation of speed is astonishing. It is a visceral image that gets sent all over the world. Sometimes, you need to catch your breath as an F1 car tackles Becketts, the Degners or Eau Rouge.
And that is where Moto GP is very different. The bikes look so slow, so sedate compared to F1 cars. The sensation of speed simply doesn’t translate through the TV screen. F1 cars are 1000 horsepower beasts, and that comes across on TV. Moto GP bikes are wild bronco’s; sadly, it all looks too calm. Watching a single F1 car on its final flying lap is one of the greatest things in the world. Viewing ten Moto GP bikes on a flying lap feels like just another lap.
The Bottom Line
F1 and Moto GP are both excellent championships. They showcase fantastic skill, bravery, technological excellence and pure sporting drama. Yes, they have their flaws and their positives, but, overall they’re brilliant. There is no point in me saying which is better; they are not mutually exclusive. Think of it like ice cream and pancakes; you can like both. It doesn’t matter if it’s an F1 car hurtling around Suzuka or a Moto GP bike flying around Mugello; it is box office.