One of the most common questions we get from readers is, “Are crashes in motorsports necessary?” Many people believe that racing wouldn’t be what it is today without these crashes. In reality, there was a time when there were no crashes in motorsports. It isn’t just a question of whether or not crashes are necessary, but how can we ensure that crashes are kept to a minimum in the future?
Simply put, a crash is a sudden and unexpected failure of a person or a vehicle that occurs as a result of a malfunction or a mechanical failure. Crashes in motorsports have been a part of racing since the first race at Daytona Beach in 1901 and have resulted in the loss of countless careers. In the early days of motorsports, crashes were a part of racing as a way to increase popularity and as a way to showcase the vehicles.
NASCAR has become America’s sport, but that doesn’t mean that the sport is without its problems. Severe head injuries are an unfortunate reality of racing, and every year, the drivers of the world’s most popular motorsport are subjected to the collateral damage of crashes.
Are crashes in motorsports necessary?
Many hardcore fans of the sport argue that the answer is an emphatic yes. After all, they argue that the sport will lose much of its entertainment value if crashes are avoided. But others argue that the answer is no. And the debate is complicated. If the sport is to survive, they say, it needs to be safer. If it is not, then its popularity will diminish. And the debate will continue.
Why do we go to watch motor racing? Is it because the concept of speed is so captivating? Or is it to see cars speed around tracks at near terminal velocities? Or is it to see cars crash into each other? I would argue that what draws people to motorsport is the fact that crashes are inevitable. It is in motorsport that we witness the ultimate expression of human control in the face of uncontrollable forces. This is what makes motorsport so compelling. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a good thing either.
Our answer to this question is an unequivocal ‘No.’ However, when one considers that when motor racing was started in the early 1900s, it was much more dangerous than it is today. When one considers that when motor racing was started in the early 1900s, there was no safety equipment whatsoever. Look at any motorsport, and you will encounter crashes. They are inevitable, and because of that, they are not surprising to see. But crashes are not necessary.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going—or so you might think. But for many professional racing drivers, the choice to give up the cockpit and focus on a new career was a tough one. Some of these drivers have not been involved in a single-car accident since leaving the track, while others have been involved in multiple serious crashes but have managed to keep themselves out of the hospital. One famous driver was even able to keep racing longer after a vicious crash that left the car barely intact, resulting in a still-ongoing lawsuit.
But is there a way to improve the sport?
In a sport that is so dangerous, it’s no wonder crashes have become a regular occurrence. Can we eliminate crashes? Or will we be stuck with racing forever? With a tour that has a mix of champions and champions-in-waiting, it’s hard to say. But regardless of the crashes that occur, the spectacle is unmatched in its passion and intensity.
There are a lot of arguments out there about whether crashes in motorsports are necessary. Critics point out that series like Formula 1 and IndyCar cost a lot of money and offer the drivers as little as possible as compensation as if it’s not as stressful as you would imagine racing at speeds over 200 mph. Some claim that this is their main reason for disliking the sport, as they believe that the drivers should be happy with the result of their work and not be guaranteed a large salary and a winning career.