Formula One: Tata Communications partner with Sky F1

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Earlier this month Tata Communications and Sky announced an expanded partnership overseeing the broadcasters Formula One coverage delivered entirely through Tata Communications superfast fibre network, which lays claim to being the worlds only wholly owned fibre network encircling the globe.

The agreement will see Tata Communications will support Sky’s strategy to create Europe’s leading entertainment company following its acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, will ensure a seamless race experience for viewers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, regardless of Grand Prix location.

Keith Lane, Director of Operations at Sky commented on the partnership:

“It’s crucial that we’re able to bring our viewers action-packed, high-quality F1 racing experiences from Grands Prix around the world. And, as the way people experience F1 is constantly evolving thanks to technological advances that rely on superfast connectivity, there is scope for us to tap into Tata Communications’ global fibre network as we continue to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting”

All video feeds of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship season will be distributed live in high-definition to Sky viewers using Tata Communications’ Video Connect service. Sky teams based in the UK, Germany and Italy will work in close collaboration with Tata Communications’ experts at race tracks and its remote operations teams, ensuring a seamless delivery of each race to people at home. Video Connect enables broadcasters to deliver live video feeds from anywhere in the world over Tata Communications’ IP network, with connectivity to over 240 countries and territories. Underpinned by the world’s largest wholly-owned subsea fibre network, it ensures the highest quality viewing experience for F1 fans.

“It’s crucial that we’re able to bring our viewers action-packed, high-quality F1 racing experiences from Grands Prix around the world. And, as the way people experience F1 is constantly evolving thanks to technological advances that rely on superfast connectivity, there is scope for us to tap into Tata Communications’ global fibre network as we continue to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting.” remarked Keith Lane

On this site earlier in the year we interviewed Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of Formula One for Tata Communications, on the future of F1 Broadcasting, this overarching Sky partnership will facilitate rapid development in the directions mentioned in that interview. Speaking on the partnership Mehul comments:

“Bringing fans brilliant, glitch-free viewing experiences requires more than just reliable, superfast connectivity on a global scale. As fans increasingly want to be part of the action unfolding on the track, we look forward to exploring future game-changing technologies with Sky to drive innovation in F1 broadcasting.”

With an expansive partnership of this nature in place alongside SKY being awarded exclusive broadcast rights for Formula One in the UK from 2019 onwards, the broadcaster’s commitment to the sport has never been greater. Whilst some may argue the extent of Sky’s power within the sport could be detrimental for fans, the converse seems more likely, Sky are committed to the long term success and growth of Formula One, they will no doubt be exploring ways in which to add more services to the F1 broadcast product in the near future.

An interesting sidebar on the agreement is the name Sky itself. Many associate the broadcaster Sky with the need for a satellite dish on the side of your house, yet the Tata partnership will be reliant on a fibre network. Whilst this element of the deal is not customer facing, In a separate partnership Tata communications have resolved historical OTT (Over The Top – set top free view services) issues around live broadcasting. (see this article). Movement in this area will free Sky up to offer Formula One content to customers without a satellite dish. The ability to offer F1 through a streaming service with no risk of live delay opens Sky up to offering season passes, which could reduce the price point of the Sky offering, discouraging an audience from streaming content illegally at diminished quality.

Services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have shown the broadcast industry that customers are prepared to pay for content if the price point is right. What is a fair price for an F1 season pass?

The deal with Sky builds on Tata Communications’ expertise in F1 content delivery and highlights the company’s central role in the F1 ecosystem, working in close partnership with Formula One Management, The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, and many leading F1 broadcasters. Last year, the company was also chosen by Formula One Management to provide broadcast services globally for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series.

Formula One: Alonso checks out MotoGP Mugello

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Mclaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso attended the Mugello round of the MotoGP championship this weekend with the Repsol Honda Team.

Speaking to championship world feed broadcaster Alonso complimented the series on the great atmosphere around the circuit, the packed out grandstands a stark contrast to the poorly attended Spanish Grand Prix last weekend. Alonso commented on how impressed he was by the skills of the riders and the bikes themselves.

Despite attending the race as a guest of Honda, Alonso commented he would like to have seen a Rossi (riding with Yamaha) win for the fans and remarked how different it was to see the bikes in real life as oppose to on TV.

To see highlights from the Mugello Round of the MotoGP check out the series You Tube channel here.

Remember, you can win a Full size Fernando Alonso Helmet with Mobil One’s The Grid through this link:

 

Formula One: Daffy’s is dressing up for Monaco with Manor

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Manor Racing Team partner Daffy’s Gin are celebrating  the start of summer  at the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend with the announcement of  a limited edition premium Daffy’s Manor Racing.

The Daffy’s Manor Racing Edition nods to the small batch premium gin’s partnership with the British-based F1 team with a total of just 1,000 bottles being exclusively available to from mid-May.

A Daffy’s Manor Racing Edition Cocktail will be the drink to be seen with around the Principality next weekend.

Newly appointed Simon Pavitt, Manor Racing Marketing Director said:

“Since launching the partnership at the start of the 2016 F1 season, Daffy’s has had quite an impact at Manor Racing. The iconic logo looks great on the turning vanes of our race cars and we’ve had so much fun contributing to the limited edition bottle and cocktails. We’ve given the Goddess of Gin a F1 Garagista twist. Thanks to Daffy’s, our motorhome in the F1 Paddock is already THE ultimate place to enjoy the World’s Best Gin. We can’t wait to serve Daffy’s at our co-hosted events across the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship™ calendar, kicking off in Monaco this month”.

The new bottling offers a contrasting, but complementary flavour profile to Daffy’s original, using a new recipe based on Daffy’s flagship world-class botanicals. Alongside the finest quality ingredients such as Lebanese mint leaves, Balkan juniper berries and Moroccan orris root, the Daffy’s Manor Racing Edition introduces a new ingredient, fresh lime from Southern Spain.

Distilled using Daffy’s trademark ‘slow-cook’ process, the new bottles marry zesty lime and spice with warming flavours of burnt caramel, creamy shortbread. The result is a balanced and complex gin, so smooth it can be enjoyed over ice, like an aged quality rum or Single Malt Whisky.

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The limited edition features beautiful artwork, created by famed New York artist, Robert McGinnis, representing Daffy, the Goddess of Gin in classic seventies racing whites, framed by a winner’s laurel wreath and gold cup. Each bottle also incorporates the Manor Racing branding and a personal racing number, while a cocktail recipe neck-tag suggests innovative serves that showcase the gin’s character to its full potential.

Chris Molyneaux, Master Distiller and co-founder of Daffy’s said:

“This is Daffy’s first ever limited edition and I’m incredibly proud of the result. We’re thrilled to be working with Manor Racing this year and wanted to create an exciting, fresh gin that captured the spirit, energy and derring-do of Manor Racing and F1.

“My personal goal was to push the boundaries of what people perceive as the traditional character of a London Dry Gin.  It’s incredibly complex on the palette, but so balanced. I’ve had it described back to me as bit of game-changer. I can’t wait to get it out there and hear what other professionals in the trade think”.

Daffy’s Manor Racing Edition is available exclusively to on-trade venues in UK and Ireland from mid-May, accompanied by a small online release via the website. For more information and sales details visit Daffysgin.com

Follow Daffy’s Gin on Twitter here & Instagram here

Keep up to date with the Manor Racing team here

Formula One: VIDEO – Mclaren: Life begins at 50

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Sunday May 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Mclaren’s first Formula One race. Bruce Mclaren took to the wheel of the MB2 around the streets of Monaco. Despite managing only 9 laps before an oil leak bought an early end to his race, the race represents the beginning of one of the most successful teams in Formula One history.

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Having participated in 791 race weekends, Mclaren have a amassed 182 wins, sealing 8 constructors world championships and 12 drivers championships. Only Scuderia Ferrari have a longer history in the sport.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, recent performances, specifically pace shown in the final sector of a lap around the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, suggest Mclaren Honda could be an outside contender for a podium finish. With odds of 100/1 for Fernando Alonso and 150/1 for Jenson Button, an each way bet on the duo might be worth thinking about. After a number of challenging seasons the Mclaren Honda package is looking increasingly competitive, with the promise of ultimatly challenging the dominant Mercedes becoming more tangible with every passing race weekend. Perhaps the team’s 50th anniversary will spark the beginning of a new era.

Jenson Button & Mclaren Honda preview the Monaco Grand Prix here:

Mobil One The Grid in collaboration with Mclaren Honda are giving you the chance to win a full size replica Fernando Alonso helmet see below for more information:

 

Formula One: Brundle will miss the Baku GP

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SKY SPORTS F1 commentator Martin Brundle will step down from his commentary duties for the weekend of the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe coming from Baku.  Replacing the microphone for a steering wheel Brundle for the weekend, Martin will be racing  alongside his son Alex, in the Road to Le Mans event, a precursor to the Le Mans 24 hours taking place over the same weekend.

The Brundle family will be participating in the event with the Zak Brown, co-founder of JMI, owned United Autosports team in a Ligier JS P3 competing in the LMP3 category. Brundle’s place in the commentary box alongside David Croft will be taken by an existing member of the SKY SPORTS F1 team. With regular co-commentator for Free Practice sessions Anthony Davidson also otherwise engaged at Le Mans, it is likely Paul Di Resta will be stepping up to race commentary team in Baku.

SKY SPORTS F1 will confirm the commentary team following the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula One: Renault PU update worth 0.5 second a lap

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The Renault Sport F1 team’s Technical Director, Rémi Taffin, has estimated the updated Renault power unit used by both the works Renault Sport team and Red Bull Racing, under Tag Heuer branding, will deliver up to half a second in performance per lap once introduced. 

Speaking on the engine development plans so far in 2016 Rémi commented:

“The power unit we have used since the first race in Australia was really a continuation of the work started in the ‘Spec D’ power unit we introduced at the tail end of 2015. We explored some concepts in that earlier iteration and the 2016 unit took them further, for example in the turbo. This new spec goes even further down the line and also includes significant modifications to the combustion system. It will make the ICE more powerful but also efficient, leading to a gain of around half a second per lap. We’ve used a small proportion of our token allocation for this upgrade.”

When quizzed on timing around the introduction of the upgraded power unit Rémi went on to explain:

“The current power unit used since Australia has had several smaller upgrades and all the drivers were very happy with the standard in Spain. In parallel, we’ve been working on the new spec since the start of the season but needed to sign off all the parts for reliability and mileage before using on track. The tests were very positive and showed it to be more powerful and driveable. We had originally planned to use the new version in Canada when the current units are scheduled to be removed from the cycle, but if we can get the units together and completely validated by Monaco we will use the ones available at this race.”

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Rémi went on to confirm that whilst Renault will continue to develop the 2016 power unit and are set to have a large amount of performance tokens available to do so, the team are fully focused on optimising the 2017 power unit:

“We will continue our development over the rest of the season,using tokens with a view to getting on board any useful items identified from our 2017 work. We are principally focused on 2017 and making that next power unit as optimal as possible.”

This may not be the news Red Bull Racing were hoping to hear, having elevated the RB12 into a race winning contender they may be looking for support from their engine supplier to mount a championship challenge.

Formula One: VIDEO – Ricciardo on the pain of spain & looks forward to Monaco

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In the post race interviews immediately following the Spanish Grand Prix frustration from Daniel Ricciardo was clear to see. Ricciardo explains this feeling was not simply because he was beaten by his teammate and an alternative strategy, but more through feeling that performance has not been optimised over the last few races.

Acknowledging the team are further ahead than they expected as this point in the season a driver always wants more and the results of the Spanish Grand Prix remain at the forefront of his thoughts.

Looking ahead to Monaco and the subsequent Montreal and Baku Grand Prix, Ricciardo speaks with confidence that Red Bull Racing will be in a position to compete with the street circuit layout suiting the RB12.

Ricciardo is full of praise for his teammate and talks wanting to pit himself against the best, reflecting again on his time with Vettel in 2014.

 

Formula One: Mclaren Monaco Form + Win Alonso Helmet

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The opening five races of the 2016 Formula One World Championship have seen Mclaren Honda steadily move back towards the sharp end of the grid, this has been reflected in key milestones such as the Fernando Alonso making an appearance in Q3 of the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying session. Whilst not an achievement one might expect a championship winning team to be celebrating it was the first time Mclaren have competed in the final part of qualifying since the beginning of the Honda partnership.

The Monaco Grand Prix should yield a further step forward for the team. The tight and twisty nature of a lap around the principality minimises any performance deficit a power unit may suffer and instead places an emphasis on chassis performance. A well known indicator of form around Monaco is vehicle performance around the final sector of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button set the 5th and 9th fastest times through the sector respectively. Whilst it should be said that without misfortune from other teams it is unlikely the Mclaren duo will be in a position to challenge for the top places on the podium, the team are clearly moving in the right direction.

If you are feeling lucky an each way bet on Alonso at 100/1 or Button at 150/1 with William Hill might be worth some serious consideration.

Mclaren Honda technical partners Mobil One continue to bring motorsport to life through exclusive video and written content on the The Grid. The commitment was recently enhanced through the launch of a brand new website. To celebrate the launch of the site Mobil One The Grid are giving away a full size replica of Fernando Alonso’s 2016 helmet. See below for more details, and best of luck!

 

Formula One: VIDEO – Mercedes explore the aftermath of the Spanish GP

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Mercedes AMG Petronas, through the teams You Tube Channel magazine show the ‘Silver Arrows Show’ have openly explored race attending fans response to the race ending incident between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix, and provided a detailed explanation as to the impact it had on the factory work schedule.

The film, as you might expect, provides a healthy balance of opinion from Mercedes fans as to which driver was responsible for the incident. Interestingly the fans giving opinion seemed unsure as to where on track the collision occurred and the decision of the FIA following the race, demonstrating how difficult it can be for a fan to follow the narrative of a race while at the circuit.

Returning to the factory, the film explores how the initial assessment of damage is made, and that over 1000 components would have to be checked and possibly replaced across the two cars. Perhaps most telling of why both Lewis and Nico showed such remorse for the collision was the news that one instant response from the team is to cancel any planned holiday including weekends for team personnel responsible for vehicle maintenance to ensure both cars are adequately repaired ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula One Memorabilia collectors keen to see the first items of the Memento Exclusives Mercedes AMG Petronas Shop should skip to 6:51 in the film to check out a the damaged side pod of Nico Rosberg’s W07.

Looking ahead to Monaco, the team will be keen to regain their position on the top two steps of the podium, Nico will be looking to secure his fourth consecutive Monaco victory and Lewis will be fighting hard to secure his first win around the principality for the Silver Arrows team.

Formula One: VIDEO – Max Verstappen on his maiden win in Formula One

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Red Bull Racing have released a short film of Max Verstappen talking through his maiden Grand Prix win. The Max Verstappen success story looks set to dominate the sport for the foreseeable future, his unexpected win has reignited media interest in the 2016 Formula One World Championship  with infighting at Mercedes and an updated power unit set to be introduced over the next two events Red Bull Racing could yet bring themselves into contention for the championship.