MotorSport is not a sport

I always thought MotorSport fans were a tiny minority of people.

“Clearly they’ve been exposed to petrol fumes too much,” I thought. “They’re just bogans who wear V8 Supercar jackets to weddings or who buy incredibly crass Ferrari-branded phones.”

"Never mind the bloody race! Wayne-O's doing Horsies into the can pile!"

But I was wrong. It turns out there are thousands of sane and civilised people who enjoy watching MotorSport. These people live and die by the performances of Craig, Casey, Mark, Marcos and other drivers who apparently have graduated to the “so beloved we only need one name” echelon formerly reserved for Cathy, Gazey, Thorpey and Harry.

But my main question to those people: Is MotorSport even a real sport?


Most definitions of the word sport are vague and too inclusive for my liking. Going by the dictionary definition you could argue that things like fishing and cheerleading are sports. They’re not.

You got lawyered!

I would argue that true sport must involve actively engaging one or more opponents on a level playing field. The winner is determined directly by the ability and performance of the participants against the clock or scoreboard.

So does MotorSport tick those boxes, and are MotorSport fans right to claim it as a sport? I do not believe so.

Reason why MotorSport is not a sport #1: The engine often wins the race… not the driver.

In 2007, Valentino Rossi, supposedly the greatest motorcycle rider of all time, threw a very public hissy fit and threatened to leave Yamaha after his bike began to fall behind technologically compared to Honda and Ducati. Apparently his greatness did not matter in the face of a better bike. F1 pundits spent Michael Schumacher’s entire career unsure whether or not his statistical dominance was ‘real dominance’ since it came with the asterisk of ‘driving a clearly superior machine.’ They still haven’t made up their minds!

"Thank God I signed with such a dominant team!"

No, it is the engine under the bonnet that does most of the work. Horse-racing (which I do not believe is a true sport either) has it right in this regard: They praise the horse more than the jockey… Phar Lap is a legend whereas his jockey’s name is a trivia question.

Jim Pike, in case you were wondering... Although you probably weren't.

The horse matters more than the jockey. The car matters more than the driver. Same thing.

Reason why MotorSport is not a sport #2: Just because elite drivers are in top shape, it doesn’t make driving a sport.

Elite drivers have top-notch reaction times, low body fat, good strength and can maintain life-or-death concentration for hours on end. They’re very impressive in that regard. But despite what MotorSport fans constantly claim, none of those things makes them sportspeople. Brain surgeons exhibit similar levels of concentration, and people who stack cups have top level reactions too, but that doesn’t make brain surgery or cup stacking a sport… no matter how awesome they are.

Reason why MotorSport is not a sport #3: There is no level playing field in most MotorSport.

To give someone a ‘sporting chance’  you need to be fair and making sure everyone has a chance to win. This simply doesn’t happen in most MotorSport. Could a low-budget team with inferior technology win a world title? No, it’s not possible. The last time even a single F1 race was won by a small team was in 2008. What hope do they hold for the Championship?

Conversely, you can look at someone like Lionel Messi, indisputably the world’s best soccer player. The man stands slightly taller than a fire hydrant. He has a growth hormone deficiency, yet he dominates larger, faster, stronger men with his skills and ability. He has overcome his physical limitations and he can now stand taller than any athlete on the planet (metaphorically, anyway). Would such a story be possible in F1? No.

And yes, there is monopolisation in other sports, too… but the difference is that any team can potentially beat Manchester United on any given day… their chances of victory depend on their own ability, and they don’t have to overcome that fact that Manchester United are wearing magical boots that help them run 8% faster.

Nike Design Team: "Maybe if we paint them like Cheetahs?"

So to summarise:

MotorSport ticks two of the four boxes I outlined above. It involved direct engagement between opponents, and the results are determined by a clock or scoreboard.

But it’s not a level playing field, and the winner is not purely determined by ability or “performance on the day” – it is also largely determined by the engine you’re using.

Sebastian Vettel should share his winnings with this guy

As such, it does not meet the criteria. It is a skill, definitely, and I am happy for fans to call it MotorSport since that (accurately) specifies that the competition is largely between motors, not people. But it is not a true sport.

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46 Responses to MotorSport is not a sport

  1. scot says:

    You don’t think it’s a sport? Go karting for 15 minutes and get back to me.

    Engines are important, yes but are not the be all and end all. Red Bull Racing (driver’s and constructor’s F1 champs) uses Renault engines. Funnily enough, so does the Renault team (currently 5th in the constructor’s championship).

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      Yep, and if I go Karting and my engine is even 5% less efficient than the guy next to me, even if I’m the better driver, he can win. Sounds fair. Hey, why don’t I just run out onto the tennis court with 10kg weights attached to each ankle?

      Something being tough/difficult/fun/skillful does NOT make it a sport. If it did we’d already have “PS3 Gaming” medals being handed out in the Olympics.

      • Galo says:

        So bicycle racing is not a sport either… since many aspects of aerodynamics and mechanics account for the overall result. Yet let me remind you it is an Olympic sport.
        Have you heard about engineered fabrics used to improved olympic swimmers’ performance?

        It is true that the engine (or the bicycle, or the suit) can and do improve an athlete’s performance. But in a level field (and there are many level field categories in motorsport) a driver’s fitness will be key on his or her performance.

        So I also suggest you go karting (or biking or whatever) for 15 minutes and then we can follow a discussion.

    • goofy says:

      Ernest Hemingway There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.

  2. Daithi says:

    But the entire physical exertion is by the athlete when it comes to cycling.

  3. xxx says:

    there is also “physical exertion” when one drives a car at breakneck speeds of over 200kmph. If you drove an F1 race car with out proper training you really break your neck.

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      As I said in the article… difficulty does not make it a sport, and neither does the fact that it’s physically demanding.

      At least a cyclist does most of the work.

      Work = Mass times Acceleration times Distance.

      The driver’s ‘Work’ involves moving his arms and pushing his feet onto pedals. The car’s ‘Work’ involves propelling the driver and itself around the track.

      A cyclists’ ‘work’ involves rotating their legs over and over and over in order to propel the bike.

      As always, physics shows us the light.

      • Steve says:

        A downhill skier’s ‘work’ involves standing in different positions while gravity propels him down a slope. He therefore is not doing any actual WORK. Does that mean it is not a sport?

  4. You are being deliberately obtuse and won’t agree with anyone who argues against you, so I only have one question: why do you care so much? I personally enjoy motorsports, the various rugby codes, AFL, mixed martial arts and am excited for the upcoming Olympic Games. What’s the point in hating on something which doesn’t affect your life at all?

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      I’m not sure exactly, Owen.

      I assure you I’m not being deliberately obtuse. If someone could explain a logical reason why motorsport carries equal merit to, say, a triathlon, I will be all ears.

      But while driving that fast is impressive and difficult and requires skill, it is still done under the engine’s steam, so to speak. A triathlete does the work themselves. I think that distinction is worth making. You might disagree. That’s fine.

      We all categorise things. This article is no different to the debate over whether Pluto is a planet. Some might consider it meaningless, but others feel passionately about it. There is an imbalance in this particular debate, because there are more Motorsport fans than there are those of us who think it’s an impressive passion, but not a sport.

      No harm in having an opinion.

  5. GoldenBear says:

    Is the Premier League a level playing field? In 07/08 Manchester United, who finished top, spent £121 million on player payments compared with Fulham, who finished 17th (not relegated), spent £39.3 million. What chance does Fulham have of winning if they spend a quarter of what Man U spend? Same thing in F1, richer teams will have an advantage. Top line sport will never have a level playing field, does that mean The Premier League is not a sport?

    I think you also totally miss the point about the physical nature of the sport. A machine does not win the race by itself. A human is needed to put the inputs in to get the job done. And doing these inputs under tough conditions (High temperature; cramped space; G-force >3 390 times in the Monaco race; G-force <1 234 times in the Monaco race [78 laps, formula1.com]; average weight loss of a driver during a race ~5kg). While the driver may not be running, swimming or riding turning the steering wheel under these forces is like pushing and pulling a 40kg weight. And while that might seem easy, do it approximately 1500 times with no break in 90mins. And who builds this machine? Does it just it just magically on the side of a road? A huge team spends countless hours building and testing the car, pitstops, race strategy etc. It is a huge team sport where not only the fit drivers compete but a paraplegic like Sir Frank Williams can still compete and lead a team to win races despite his physical limitations.

    And really is the engine the be all and end all? Torro Rosso and Mercedes GP have the best engines in the F1 field (highest top speed) and only have 1 win so far this season. In fact so far from six races there have been 6 different driver wins and 5 different team wins. Seems like there are a few teams that can win on their day.

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      I’ll say it again – Just because something is difficult, that does not make it a sport. Climbing Everest is more physically demanding than driving an F1 car, but that doesn’t make ‘Everest Climbing’ a sport, no matter how detailed a description I give of the physical stress the body is placed under.

      You make a solid point about the EPL not having a level playing field, and yes, I agree, it’s something that needs to be addressed. However, my point remains that at least in soccer you have a player like Messi who can stand tall based purely on his skill. You cannot say the same for the world’s greatest driver if they’re sitting in a Marussia F1 car.

      I realise I’m dumbing the issue down, but ultimately winning an F1 race/championship comes down to a combination of MULTIPLE factors – the driver’s ability, the car’s construction and (by extension) performance.

      Manchester City can spend a bajillion dollars on players during the transfer window, but their chances of hoisting the trophy still only depend on ONE factor – the performance of their players on the pitch.

      • GoldenBear says:

        So how is triathlon considered more of a sport if you don’t take into account the physical difficulty? It’s physically difficult to complete a triathlon, but that doesn’t make it a sport according to you.

        Marussia will struggle in their early days as an F1 team like any new team in any sport will, eg GC Suns, GWS Giants. But have a look at Ferrari this year. Clearly they came into the season with a below par car. They have two drivers like anyone else driving identical cars. Alonso, a world champion, drives the pants off that car, wins a race and is leading the championship and Massa, who is a good driver but nowhere near the caliber of Alonso, struggles and is out qualified and out raced in every race by his teammate. A great driver will still be able to beat better cars.

        Is the coaching staff of Man City not a factor? The fitness staff?

        Red Bull can spend a bajillion dollars on the car during the year, but their chances of hoisting the trophy still only depend on one factor – the performance of their drivers on the track.

        It woks both ways champ.

      • goofy says:

        Manchester City can spend a bajillion dollars on players during the transfer window, but their chances of hoisting the trophy still only depend on ONE factor – the performance of their players on the pitch.

        The same as the F1 championship is determined by the performance of the driver in the car?

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        I’ll correct you – The same as the F1 Championship is determined by the performance of the driver AND engine in the car.

        There… all better!

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      Re: You’ve made my point for me. The fact that triathlon is tough doesn’t make it a sport. That’s correct. The fact that you have a bunch of people directly engaging each other on a level playing field in a race for the finish line under their own steam makes it a sport. And that’s something that can’t be said of motorsport.

      Sure, if their bike has a flat, that would mean an outside factor is coming into it, but you can’t honestly argue that a rare occurrence like a triathlon flat tyre impacts upon the outcome of the race nearly as much as the quality of the engine under the hood of an F1 car.

      The fact remains that an engine does 99+% of the work in a F1 race. That engine plays far too large a role in the outcome of a race for my liking. Perhaps you disagree. That’s your prerogative. But as far as I’m concerned (and I’m not alone), when a non-human element plays such a huge role, it’s not a true sport.

      Put Cadel Evans on a $200 K-Mart bike and me on a $20,000 custom-built bike, and he would still absolutely smash me at cycling.

      Match me (in the latest Adidas Predator boots) up against Lionel Messi (wearing schoolshoes) and he would still run rings around me at soccer.

      Give Roger Federer a 1970s dunlop racquet and dunlop volleys and give me a brand-spaking new Head racquet and Nike tennis shoes and I’d still struggle to take a single point off him, let alone a game.

      But if you put Mark Webber in a 1989 Ford Festiva at the Albert Park start line, and let me line up against him in a 2012 Holden Commodore HSV… what happens?

      • GoldenBear says:

        ‘Work’ & ‘under their own steam’ IS the physical part of triathlon that you stated “Doesn’t make it a sport”. Non-human element of engines: Who makes this engine? What controls it? If there is a failure in an engine it can be directly traced to the human that designed and built it. And if your going to compare Kmart bikes to $20K bikes put Webber in a Go Kart and you in an F1 car and I guarantee Mark would have a better lap time than you.

        So many flaws in your arguments and so little time…

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        No, you’re not following my logic…

        The two points are mutually exclusive. I can quite reasonably state that it is important that a triathlete does the work under their own steam, while at the same time saying that just because something is difficult that doesn’t make it a sport. That’s fine. Saying one doesn’t contradict the other at all.

        Non-human element: Yes, an engine is built by a team of people. That’s true. But the work done by the engine is self-sustaining once the engine is finished. ‘Work’ is the key word here. What person or object does the most work in completing a triathlon? By a significant margin, the answer is: the person. The complete and total opposite is true of the Driver/Engine relationship while completing a race.

        Your third point is a logical fallacy. What you’ve suggested doesn’t change the fact that in the Festiva/Commodore matchup, I would destroy Mark Webber in a race, despite the fact that he is a much, much better driver than I am. That remains true, no matter how much you move the goalposts.

        I enjoy the debate, and I’m not having just deliberately riling people up. The crux of the issue is that I consider sport to be competition between people. Not engines. As I said in the article… call it motorsport if you wish. But a true sport it ain’t.

      • goofy says:

        You lose against Mark Webber. For the simple fact that you believe the Motor (Motor being what you refer to when you speak of Engine) is the thing that does all the work. You would lack the comprehension of basic lines, braking zones, chassis response and so on to be able to drive that car at 20% of it’s capability, Webber on the other hand could out drive the Festiva. This alone however doesn’t debate the point you were attempting to make, so I will break it down.

        By your definition:
        true sport must involve actively engaging one or more opponents on a level playing field. The winner is determined directly by the ability and performance of the participants against the clock or scoreboard.

        Actively engaging – Motorsport is a team sport, teams are actively engaged in the development of a race team. Cars or motorcycles must be designed to suit the driver or rider in order to get the best out of the man and the machine. For example, Rossi was unable to jump on to the same bike as Stoner and make it lap faster. Stoner being the only person to be able to ride that bike to a championship, evidence to this fact is that his team mate, Nicky Hayden was finishing mid pack when Stoner was winning races by margins of 10 seconds or greater on the same machinery, by the same team. The same happened when Rossi was racing the Honda and Yamaha and winning championship.

        Level Playing file – All teams must race on the same tracks within the rules set by the governing body.

        Winning IS determined by the ability or performance of the participants against the clock and the scoreboard.

        Also, your point on Rossi is grossly incorrect. Rossi had many issues with Yamaha due to Jorge Lorenzo renegotiating his slice of the pie. Lorenzos pay rise effectively meant Rossi had to take a pay cut. Lorenzo was outperforming Rossi at the time. Rossi also took issue with the inferior Michelin tyres as the front runners were using Bridgestone at the time. Tyres playing a significant factor in the way the motor was able to put power to the ground.

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        Haha sorry mate but I have actually driven a car once or twice. I would spank Mark Weber if he had a terrible car and I had a brilliant car. Off the line my acceleration would be too great and after the first few corners, any time a straight came into play, I would pull away. Easy.

        And you also managed to prove my point for me re: Valentino Rossi. The TYRES meant he was unable to compete despite his alleged greatness.

        I never heard Messi complain about the boots on his feet or Tiger claim his clubs had given him the edge.

        What a joke.

  6. Jacob says:

    Rival teams complained about Mark Webber’s recent win, forcing the governing body to change the rules. What did they complain about? Mark’s driving? Nope. His car gave him an UNFAIR AND UNSPORTING ADVANTAGE.

  7. Nonchalant Observer says:

    Surely after all your research into the issue, your aware of how closely regulated the cars are, which creates a situation where the only calculabe difference between the race teams, is the drivers? Thus creating a level playing field, where anyone has a chance to win?

    http://www.v8supercars.com.au/technical/carofthefuture/thenewgenerationofv8supercars/tabid/1418/default.aspx

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      Really? Honestly I’ll plead ignorance. My understanding was that NASCAR mandates identical cars, but V8 Supercars still allow for differences.

      And if that’s the case, then why the Ford/Holden rivalry?

      It would seem to me there is still room for differences between cars. A car from Team A is somehow more powerful (even by 1%) and reliable than a car from Team B. Therefore the crux of the article remains true… the cars play too much of a role in determining the winners.

      • Zac says:

        The Ford/Holden rivalry is archaic. Bogan motor sport fans unable to let go of the past when the cars on track came straight off the showroom floor and it really was a battle of the marques.

  8. Zac says:

    I’ll weigh in with a point I haven’t seen raised. I’m not going to argue that teams with more money to build better cars/bikes etc. are more likely to win races. This is the same case in any sport big clubs buy better players, equipment, facilities and staff etc. Making that argument irrelevant. In the lower divisions of the English football leagues and reserve squads younger players test their mettle and attempt to prove themselves worthy of the “better” teams (ya know, the ones with all the cash). In motor sports Casey Stoner wasn’t approached when he was 10 years old and asked to race on a 500cc factory backed Ducati was he? No. He had to prove himself as an elite athlete riding and beating teams with more expensive and better machinery using his skills as a rider alone. The point I’m making is that it doesn’t matter how much money the team has or how superior their engine is if they don’t have the best possible driver for the team. The fact that the car/bike/whatever can have such a large impact on the outcome just adds an extra factor of excitement as a spectacle.

    • Zac says:

      Summary –
      Motorsport is a sport #1: The engine AND the driver win the race. Put a bad driver in a car marginally better than another and the superior driver wins.

      Reason #2: Elite drivers are elite athletes. Athletes in direct competition = Sport.

      Reason #3: There is no level playing field in any sport. (Blood doping in cycling, $60m players in football, performance enhancing drugs…need I go on? This whole point is utterly ridiculous)

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        #1 – So you concede that the engine wins the race? Your hypothetical depends on the ‘marginality’ of the difference between the cars. Again, Weber in a clapped out 1991 Festiva versus me in a 2012 HSV Commodore? I win.

        #2 – Athletes use athleticism. Drivers drive. They’re not athletes.

        #3 – So you need to use drug cheats to suggest a less-than-level playing field? I would say the fact that Lionel Messi is the best football player alive is a good indication that the playing field is nice and level in real sports.

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      So you concede that the car/bike/whatever has a large impact on the outcome?!

      BOOM! Not a sport.

      • Zac says:

        You’ve cherry picked the definition you used to argue about sport and you only respond to points you feel you have a leg to stand on (even if those points have been countered elsewhere). You’re obtuse and not particularly good at debating.

        You would not find a situation in motor sport that pitted a Festiva vs. Commodore. There are rules to keep the cars competitive with one another, the differences are marginal.

        “Athletes use athleticism. Drivers drive”. Could you please define “Athleticism”? I would assume athleticism related to genetic characteristics such as fast reflexes and the like. Some people are naturally better drivers than others.

        Your argument for 3 doesn’t actually make sense (it’s a logic error, Google it.). Granted Stoke City could beat Manchester United for example on one or two occasions. Could they win the Premier League? Hell no. Why? Manchester United can buy things Stoke can’t. Hell – Manchester City bought the Premier League last season.

        “So you concede that the car/bike/whatever has a large impact on the outcome?!

        BOOM! Not a sport.” – That isn’t an argument either. I would say the “whatever” has a marginal impact on the outcome, well with in the margin that could be negated by the skill of a superior driver.

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        False.

        I defined a sport in a manner that eliminates things that some people claim are sports, but others do not, such as cheerleading.

        Anything involving a judging panel cannot be considered a sport. It’s too objective. That’s why I include the ‘performance measured against a clock or scoreboard’ phrase.

        You’ve moved the goal posts. It’s a logical fallacy. Regardless of whether it happens in real life, the point remains that driving is not, in itself, a sport.

        There is a test for athleticism. It’s called SPARQ. Speed, power, agility, reaction, quickness. I tend to include stamina, although you don’t have to. Note that you’re not allowed to use a machine to increase your results.

        I recall a ridiculous ad for a sports drink including a few football players and Mark Weber. While they were working on their sprints, jumps, agility etc, he was standing in front of a panel of LEDs hitting them as they lit up, to train his reactions. I’m sure he’s fit, I’m sure he’s got absolutely brilliant reactions… but other than that? I’d say he’s a mediocre athlete.

        And you haven’t answered my final point: If ‘whatever’ can be negated by a superior driver, then why did Rossi throw a hissy fit? His tyres weren’t up to scratch? The engine wasn’t as good?

        Call it Motorsport. It’s a sport for Motors. Not humans.

  9. My 2 Cents says:

    You are kidding aren’t you, because if you are not then you must have never competed at anything as your entire argument (all three points) just shows you do know anything about competing or maybe you just got beaten all the time and are having a bit of a sook about now. Sport in all its forms is about beating the other guy for ‘fun’ and motorsports are just an evolution of this simple concept – just a side note, ‘fun’ becomes less of a factor the closer you get to the elite level of a sport.

    Let me start by responding to your first point of ‘having a better engine’. Why do athletes take performance enhancing drugs? Why do football players have shoes with spikes in them? How about why swimmers shave their bodies clean? All of these are examples of looking for a competitive advantage over the other guy. Yes in motorsports having a better engine is an advantage, but so running on football ground with shoes with spikes verses running normal shoes on the same surface. Another example is hitting a cricket ball with bat made from a solid piece of wood verses using the common cricket bat with and engineered spring from mating differing woods in the bat, or how about playing tennis with a small head racket against a larger headed one.

    Your second point is really about the relative fitness of an athlete and this is just and extension of gaining and advantage. If you weight 180 kg and sit on the couch all week, then try to go out a play football – you might have the skills, but the other guys who have been working on their fitness will be able to play longer and harder and beat you. The same is true of motorsports if you train harder you will gain an advantage as it allows for better performance from the body. I don’t know what you are going on about surgeons or cup stacker’s, are they trying to do an operation faster than the other guy or get the stack of cups higher and faster than some other cup stacker? Are they not trying to save lives or just going about searing you coffee? Where is the competition here?

    As for the third and final point about level playing fields, again as I have written it’s all about gaining a competitive advantage over the other guy. At the elite level of any sport the more money you have the more you can spend on finding these advantages – some sports try to mitigate this with rules with varying degrees of success. This will mean smaller/lesser teams are at a disadvantage at the elite level as they do not have the same resources, however if look to the grass roots of any sport you will find that the differences between the haves and have nots are fewer, but there will always be people with more than others. And while we are at the grass roots level it is easier to afford some shoes and a ball than a racing go-kart, but I fail to see how this makes one a sport and the other not.

    I am sure you will not agree with the my comments, but to me you blog just reads like a lack of understanding of what a sporting competition is all about and at the same time try to convince your readers that to be a sport you must have at some sort of un-quantifiable qualities. Why not just admit you that you have got it wrong and accept that sport is a competition where you are trying to win and as such motorsport is a sport.

    • MikeOrTheDon says:

      I’m afraid that for the reasons I listed, I can’t accept Motorsport as a true sport. If it’s simply about competing for fun or to beat the other guy or some intangible, fishing is a sport, chess is a sport, debate is a sport, cheerleading is a sport, and freaking Big Brother is a sport.

      No.

      Sport is human versus human or team-of-humans versus team-of-humans on a level playing field with a common objective. You use tennis racquets as an example, which simply doesn’t hold any water, since the relative difference in tennis racquet technology has never ever ever directly determined the outcome of a tennis match, let alone a Grand Slam. And yet you have entire F1 Championships almost entirely determined by the best engine.

      And I think you’ll find that the reasons I’ve listed are also the reasons so many people agree with me and refuse to accept motorsport as a true sport. It’s car versus car as much as it is driver versus driver (if not more so).

    • sloppy says:

      ‘Why do atheletes take performance enhancing drugs’ …….to try and gain an unfair advantage?

      ‘Why do football players have shoes with spikes in them’.
      …..the point is they ALL use shoes with spikes in them. Its not an unfair advantage to anyone, because THEY ALL USE SHOES WITH SPIKES.

      ‘Why swimmers have their bodies clean’
      …They ALL can have clean bodies, at not much cost. Presumably all swimmers can have a shower when they want.

      In motorsport, a better engine, a better car, COSTS MONEY. MONEY. Do you understand? DO you have ANY IDEA how much motorsport costs? DO you realise it excludes 99% of the population, and of that lucky 1% that can do it, theres still a massive skew of people with lots of money, and people with not much.

      Google the budgets of every F1 team. Look at the difference.

      You talk about cricket bats – again, the point is EVERYONE IN CRICKET can get the same bat. No one in Cricket, Football, swimming, Tennis, etc… has an unfair advantage. The equipment they have to Purchase can be purchased by Everyone, because it is relatively cheap.

      You seemed to have completely missed the point the writer is making entirely.

      Regarding the physical element of motorsport – yes its physical – no one is denying that. And yes, you can gain an advantage by being physically in better shape………but again the point is……Any driver can choose to be in better shape, if he wants to be. Anyone can go to a gym and train. It is relatively cheap. You dont even need to go to a gym. Being fitter than the other person is not an unfair advantage, relatively speaking.

      If you want to go to a genetic level, you could argue that everything is unfair, because we are shaped by our genes and our environments that we’ve grown up in – but this is being picky so i won’t go there.

      The writer CLEARLY DEFINES What is a Sport, and uses THIS definition to make an argument. For me, I agree with his definition. Sport is about competition between humans. The winner is the person/team who outsmarted, outplayed, outwitted, the opponent, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL.

      Therefore you cannot possibly define motorsport as a sport, because there is no equality, and money plays a massive influence over who wins or who loses.

      However if you want to count ‘having money’ as being a competitive advantage, then fine. You’re right.

      • Jon says:

        Therefore you cannot possibly define motorsport as a sport, because there is no equality, and money plays a massive influence over who wins or who loses.

        So therefore English Premier League, AFL, Rugby League, NBA and any other Ball sport that has differing team budgets is also not a sport.

  10. goofy says:

    Yeah, I’ve kicked a soccer ball too, though I wouldn’t be as pig headed to suggest I could kick a better ball further than Beckham.

    I’m sensing that you either completely lack an understanding regarding the subject matter, or you’re purposely being a troll. Have you ever raced a car? If not how can you have any idea as to how fast you would be on a race track.

    One thing to think about, when MotoGP went from 990cc to 800cc the bikes actually lapped faster even though they had less power. By your logic, the 990s should have been lapping faster, yet they didn’t.

    • sloppy says:

      ‘Yeah, I’ve kicked a soccer ball too, though I wouldn’t be as pig headed to suggest I could kick a better ball further than Beckham.’

      this comment isnt responding to anything the article writer has said. Dont see what your point is here at all.

      Why would he have needed to race a car? It is an objective fact that money plays a massive part in motorsport, in determining the winner. RedBull are currently winning, because their budget is circa 300 million dollars Plus. Probably more. Google it.
      Then google Caterham’s budget, or HRT’s budget. It’ll be probably 60-80 million at the most.

      I think the writer made a mistake it emphasising the engine in F1, what he meant to say is ‘car’. The engine performance in motorsport is pretty negligible in proffessional motorsport, and more down to aerodynamics and wind tunnel resources, personnel resources, etc….

      But your point that you’re making – that the writer has to have tried the sport to comment that its not a sport – is clearly missing the point hes making Completely. I suggest you scroll up, and read it a few times. Use a dictionary if you dont understand some words.

      • Goofy says:

        “‘Yeah, I’ve kicked a soccer ball too, though I wouldn’t be as pig headed to suggest I could kick a better ball further than Beckham.’

        this comment isnt responding to anything the article writer has said. Dont see what your point is here at all.”

        My comment was in response to Mikes claims that he would spank Mark Webber around a race track. Mike has little to no understanding about racing, He seems to believe that Horsepower is everything yet is unable to explain how someone like Jorge Lorenzo can win the MotoGP championship on a bike that was significantly down on power compared to the Repsol Hondas. Or Marquez racing in Moto2 with a Control Engine, Team budget caps, control tyres. Marquez has dominated the class for 2 years. His entire argument is in relation to power, his comebacks to people refer to power. I would suggest that you yourself re-read the article and comment on what has been written rather than what has not. The fact that Mike not the Don hasn’t commented on the car as a whole just shows the complete lack of understanding he has of the sport. The car is a significant factor, I agree with you, though seeing as motorsport is a team sport, and cars must be developed within the rules and therefore this fits in with the definition given in the article. I will save you the time of reading back up and repeat myself for you:

        “By your definition:
        true sport must involve actively engaging one or more opponents on a level playing field. The winner is determined directly by the ability and performance of the participants against the clock or scoreboard.

        Actively engaging – Motorsport is a team sport, teams are actively engaged in the development of a race team. Cars or motorcycles must be designed to suit the driver or rider in order to get the best out of the man and the machine. For example, Rossi was unable to jump on to the same bike as Stoner and make it lap faster. Stoner being the only person to be able to ride that bike to a championship, evidence to this fact is that his team mate, Nicky Hayden was finishing mid pack when Stoner was winning races by margins of 10 seconds or greater on the same machinery, by the same team. The same happened when Rossi was racing the Honda and Yamaha and winning championship.

        Level Playing field – All teams must race on the same tracks within the rules set by the governing body.

        Winning IS determined by the ability or performance of the participants against the clock and the scoreboard.

        Budget plays a part the same as it does in any sport, Teams still have to compete within the rules.

      • MikeOrTheDon says:

        If you look up the definition of ‘Geez that’s a long bow to draw’ in a dictionary… you find this comment.

        MotorSport “teams” actively engage with each other on car technology development? Give me a break…

  11. sloppy says:

    MikeorTheDon

    you are 100% correct with this article, its crazy how people just dont understand it at all – i think partly its marketing and brainwashing, they are sucked into it and dont think rationally about it at all. Also the media present motorsport as a skill thing – ‘this driver did this’ ‘this individual did this’. You will not find a single mention of money or budgets in hardly any F1 broadcasts. If its mentioned its usually in the context of something else.

    I think people dont realise just how much it costs to even do club racing in motorsport, at a local level, or just what the budget differences are between say Ferrari, and Caterham, on the F1 grid.

    If all the teams had equal budgets, then fine, You could say its a sport because it is down to the human element alone to win. But they dont.

    All the people who have responded to you, its like they have zero ability to understand what you’ve said lol.

    F1 and most motorsport is essentially a weekend party for rich people. And the poor pay to watch it!

  12. Wes says:

    Ok so what makes basketball a sport anymore than racing? or football? all they are is a bunch of sweaty guys running after a ball and trying to gain points? look at it from my perspective. Im only 16 and I drive a Sprint Car (dirt track open wheel car). I race against professional drivers well above my age and I certainly don’t have the money or resourses that my competitors have. I can name off quite a few that come rolling in every weekend with huge trailers and massive toter-homes. I roll in each week with a little trailer hooked up to a box truck. I certainly do not have the money resources and I occasionally run wore out motors.. yet right now I’m 6th in points against 120 something guys and I outrun several of the big money haulers and big motors each week. And I give credit to experience, talent, and reflexes. If it were all about the money and big motors as you say then I should be at the bottom of the list.

    Just fyi – Im not saying football and baseball arn’t sports. I play them at my highschool and love them. just needed to use a viewpoint. And before you go off saying I’m a little kid and I need to leave this to the grown ups, I am attending one of the biggest private schools in he country and am receiving a plethora of letters from colleges wanting me because of my accademic ability. (I am leining towards the field of Chemical Engineering)

  13. In 2007, Valentino Rossi, supposedly the greatest motorcycle rider of all time, threw a very public hissy fit and threatened to leave Yamaha after his bike began to fall behind technologically compared to Honda and Ducati. Apparently his greatness did not matter in the face of a better bike. F1 pundits spent Michael Schumacher’s entire career unsure whether or not his statistical dominance was ‘real dominance’ since it came with the asterisk of ‘driving a clearly superior machine.’ They still haven’t made up their minds!

  14. Jim Bob says:

    What about spec racing? Your whole arguement is based off the concept that the cars aren’t equal. In most classes the cars are almost equal, if slightly different. But in some classes the cars are literally exactly the same. Budget doesn’t really matter because nomatter how much you spend, you can’t change your car. Therefore, it really is athletes competing against each other on an even playing field, and thus a sport.

  15. J says:

    You’re missing one crucial point, building a race car is a TEAM effort, it’s just like Manchester United paying top dollar for the best Fitness coaches. A racing team will pay the best engineers to get the car up to scratch and be able to win races. It’s about the whole package, just like if Barcelona payed millions for messi and relatively nothing for the rest of the squad, they couldn’t win. As Much as I see your point, you’re wrong, it’s not about which team has the most money, it’s about the TEAM who uses their resources to get the most power out of the engine and car. The physical side of Motorsport is also huge, the mental and physical strain on the body is uncomprehendable to most of us, drivers experience g-forces of up to 4.5G’s (which is more than a rocket take off) in braking zones. Get in a Go Kart for 30mins and tell me it’s not a sport, you won’t be able to.
    Also if you’re wondering where my point of view is, I play Division 1 rugby league as well as competitive karting and Low level formula cars, racing was by far the more strenuous. Please be less ignorant.

  16. WolvieWolverine says:

    Well.. good argumetns.
    Then again “sport” is simply put A COMPETITION with a repetitive nature where an eventual winner can be decided.
    Even sports that you call “level” simply have this inequality stretched out, making it Harder to see. For example why is an NHL player an NHL player and considered the best, while someone from Japanese league isn’t? Let’s assume Japanese player is equally fast, skillful etc. NHL player first of all has the freedom to not care about his immediate job, since the teams provide nearly everything they need. Also they probably have very skilled agents. Even Jaromir Jagr would be only an average noone without an agent who pushed him over the edge and into best leagues. Coaches are important, because no matter how skilled a player is, a good coach will spend their time to develop or research new playing styles and nuanses. Time the player doesn’t have if he want’s to train and stay as skilled. For example there is no argument that 50’s soccer players were by far tougher and probably more athletic than faggots nowadays, but modern tactics would beat any 50’s team.

    I am by no means racing fan, though the technology fascinates me and I’d agree that the car is a bigger winner not the driver (hence the F1 constructors cup btw), then again putting down the name of the driver is an old tradition – see, since the car is not alive as the horse is, techically it may survive as a real life object or at least a blueprint or concept forever. Forever lasting things cannot become forever winners. Therefore we see the driver beforehand. We want his legacy to survive at least for a while, even after his death. And the other thing is that drivers often became famous as they risked their lives to test or to compete first-hand with the new technology. You wouldn’t argue that the test pilot’s name should be forgotten? After all we remember the names of pilots and first nearly supersonic car drivers.

    So instead of trying to reduce the definition of motorsports, you should rrather expand the definiton of sports. Even said surgeons could be competitive and if we look on a larger scale – corporate careers are tehcnically sports, where the winners get promoted and the losers aren’t. We just don’t call them sports.
    I believe the aforementioned concentration and especially trained reaction are good enough to be called attributes of an athlete and thus making motorsports real sports. Also let us remember that some motorsports require major physical endurance, like some motorcycle sports.

    So at the end let us agree – motorsports are sports.. but we can still discuss whether the winner is the best driver. Motorsports winner MAY be an artificial creation.. simply because we like to see some conclusion to a sports event. People like clear A to Z things. Also it’s good for business.

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