Motorsports are exciting, the speed that is an essential component makes us shiver. The feeling of danger and the risk that pilots run make these sports even more exciting. This is a pretty standard opinion. And it is precisely the speed that made us fall in love with our first bike. The risk and the feeling that not everything is under control has kept us company during the first descents in bobsleds or on skis, as kids, and the adrenaline made us tremble and smile at the same time.
However, this component of hazard and risk is not an ingredient always loved by companies and brands that sponsor. The fear is that the danger turns into tragedy and that the marketing benefits of sponsorship turn into a boomerang that flies dangerously against those who threw it.
More than once we heard: “We like motorsports, but they are too dangerous. We can not invest in such risky disciplines “. It is a common position, but that does not respond to reality.
So what do the numbers say?
Are we sure that motorsports, in particular F1 and MotoGP, are more dangerous than other disciplines or other activities that at first sight would seem light years away from the risk of an accident? Precisely of the risks and accidents related to the motor sports we want to write today. It is a very delicate and difficult subject to deal with, which we will address based on numbers. We will take into consideration the last 40 years of the most important and popular world motor racing championships: F1 and MotoGP.
We write about it after the Mugello Italian Grand Prix which saw, in the Friday tests, Michele Pirro’s highside at over 270 km per hour, fortunately without serious consequences.
40 years of competitions
From 1978 to today, in forty years of racing, 6 pilots of F1 and 19 riders connected to the MotoGP championship have unfortunately died in the eyes of hundreds of millions of people. Painful losses that have marked the sport, losses that have given the impulse, if we want to find something not negative, to change the rules contributing to improve the safety of these disciplines. And that pushed the manufacturers of protection and technical clothing to look for cutting-edge solutions and technologies. Frames, suits, helmets and equipment in general have made great strides with an increase in the safety conditions of all participants.
The introduction of the Halo in F1 and the mandatory airbag in the MotoGP leathers show that even in 2018 a further step towards safety was taken. In the past, riders and drivers were more exposed: today things have improved.
Comparing the numbers
Given that even one victim in motorsport is a victim too much, we want to ask a question: how many people have lost their lives skiing, falling off horses, doing artistic gymnastics or playing football at the same time? And how can we compare these numbers to F1 and MotoGP? Strangely enough, motorsports, with a total of 25 deaths in 40 years would seem to be much less dangerous than the aforementioned disciplines.
Just think that in Italy alone, the victims of sports practice are at least 100 a year, as the investigations show. And using a bicycle costs one person every 35 hours. In addition there are activities that we never expect to count among the most dangerous but which reap victims. One of these, go mushrooming, is more deadly than F1 and MotoGP put together.
Obviously, these are silent massacres, which take place away from the cameras, which do not concern famous people and therefore do not have the media impact that a tragic event on live television inevitably brings with it. More food for thought can be found here
The dangerousness of certain sports is a delicate subject and not easy to treat without running the risk of appearing cynical. It is hard to write such lines especially in the aftermath of what happened to Andreas Perez, the 14 year-old Moto3 rider who tragically lost his life on the Montmelo circuit last week.
The truth, however, is that the subject of the dangerousness of motorsport does not apply to reasoning about sponsorships and business. Formula 1 and MotoGP are no more dangerous than football, cycling and downhill or so on. On the contrary: the motorsport disciplines have significantly contributed to the improvement of road safety conditions for motorists and motorcyclists. If we have monocoques, jackets with protections and helmets of extraordinary properties, it is also due to the racing industry.