Although one sport involves motor vehicles and the other comprises of horses, there are many similarities between Formula One and horse racing. Speed is obviously the key to success in both, but beyond the dash to the finish line, there are many more important factors that contribute to victory.
Here is a look at where the two sports mirror each other and why they are both enjoyed by many sports fans.
Best Drivers/jockeys Ride the Best Cars/Horses
To be successful in F1 and horse racing, a driver and jockey need to have a strong partner. Without a good car or horse, no matter how talented they are, they are unlikely to be victorious. That said, a talented driver and jockey can also make the difference between winning and losing. The tactical decisions they make from the starting grid or stalls to the finish line, particularly when under pressure, will have a big say on the outcome of their race.
F1 drivers and jockeys deserve a lot of respect, as they must keep a close eye on their weight throughout their careers. Obviously the lighter they are, the less weight their car and horse must carry. At the same time, they can’t lose their strength, as this is an important attribute in both sports. Constructors and horse trainers both snap up the best drivers and jockeys respectively. They know that if they do this, they can be confident that their asset is in good hands during a race.
Venues And Conditions Have a Big Impact on A Race
Unlike many sports, the challenges an F1 and jockey face changes from one venue to another. In F1, there are 22 Grands Prix across the season, including Miami, one of the newest tracks added to the calendar. Each of these circuits is different and some will suit certain drivers more than others.
In horse racing, there are 60 racecourses in the UK, with many more across Europe and the rest of the world. A jockey must navigate their horse around the track, finding the best route from the start to the finish. Conditions during the race and prior to the contest have a big impact on F1 and horse racing. As we have seen in many Grands Prix over the years, wet conditions can make for dramatic races in the sport. The constructors must decide which tires to go with, and then the driver has to balance risk and reward.
Rain doesn’t quite make a race as dramatic in horse racing, however, it can have a big impact on the outcome. A jockey must navigate their horse through the best parts of the track which are not too heavy. This is particularly important in long-distance races such as the Grand National, a race over four miles, two and a half furlongs. Noble Yeats came out on top in 2021 and he was given an excellent ride by Sam Waley-Cohen. As of the 27th of June, the horse is +2000 in the betting odds to defend his crown in 2022. If he is to win the race in back-to-back years, he will need to do so with another pilot, as Waley-Cohen retired after the race back in April.
Constructors’ Championship – Racing League
In F1 and horse racing, drivers and jockeys both compete for individual honours. At the end of the season, a champion is crowned in these sports, depending on how many points/winners they have accumulated. In 2021 Max Verstappen won the Drivers’ Championship, while in horse racing, Oisin Murphy was Champion Jockey on the Flat in the UK.
As well as individual prizes, there are prestigious team accolades on offer in F1 and horse racing. The Constructors’ Championship is the biggest in F1. Drivers on each team contribute points towards that total. The Racing League is one of the newest inceptions in horse racing and this has helped more of a team angle to the sport. Seven teams go head-to-head across a season, with jockeys drafted onto each team.
Horse racing also has the Shergar Cup which sees the best international jockeys compete across a racecard at Ascot. Teams include Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, the Rest Of The World and Ladies. The latter was successful in 2021, and they will be the defending champions when the competition returns this year.
Both F1 and horse racing will be doing all they can over the next few years to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. They could even learn from each other when it comes to new and innovative ideas.