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Are great engineers fast drivers?

2 years ago

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David Twohig | Engineer


9 December 2022

Confession time. I’m not much of an F1 fan. Despite spending most of my working life surrounded by avid F1 followers – working at Renault in the mid-2000s was like attending the Church of Alonso every day – and despite making repeated efforts to ‘get into’ the sport, it’s never stirred me. In fact, Karun Chandhok of this parish is the only chap that can stoke up a glimmer of interest even in me, with his own infectious passion for the sport.

Now, MotoGP – that’s another story. I’ve been a fan of MotoGP and its hairy-chested predecessor, two-stroke 500cc racing, since I was a kid, when my bike-mad big brother and I would sit down at the weekend to watch Rainey, Schwantz, Doohan and (later on) a skinny Italian kid called Valentino Rossi do the impossible on two wheels.

I could watch bike racing for hours, whereas my attention span for F1 lasts about the length of a Drive to Survive episode. But as much as I love seeing bikes cranked over at freakish angles (modern MotoGP bikes hit 60+ degrees of ‘lean’) – the riders’ knees, elbows and (almost) shoulders dragging on the tarmac, sometimes with both tyres sliding as their unblinking thousand-yard stares seek the next apex through their visors – my favourite part is watching riders come into the pits and debrief with their race engineers.

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