Category Archives: Broadcasting

Formula One: Red Bull Racing do Drones

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In the build up to the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen spent some time trialling racing drone technology armed with streaming Go Pro’s and VR headsets.

As well as showing of their drone handling skills(!), in the film below drivers give their analysis on the Monaco Grand Prix and look forward to the Canadian Grand Prix. Both expect the upgraded power unit to perform strongly around the circuit and hope to be able to compete at the front. Hopefully the two will avoid hitting each other on track, something they didn’t manage with the drones.

The use of drone technology is understood to be high on the agenda of Formula One Management’s technical revolution in race broadcasting and content creation, with trials expected to take place over the Italian Grand Prix weekend. which is coincidently a Grand Prix which Heineken are now a title sponsor. It is not clear if the trials will lead to imagery being used in broadcast or as a form of VR trail, but it is clear FOM are looking into new ways to present the sport.

Filming & streaming content from drones could enable FOM to showcase the sport in an entirely new format at a much lower cost than more traditional filming via helicopter. The sport could even consider the use of VR to allow fans to control their view of the sport from a drone. A direction, FOM, SKY, and Mercedes AMG Petronas partner Tata Communications is keen to facilitate and encourage as discussed in this interview.

FIA Formula E, trialled the use of drones earlier this year following the Mexico ePrix. Click here for more.

Formula One: Mercedes Monaco Madness

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The Merecedes AMG Petronas Magazine Show ‘The Silver Arrows’ reflects on the teams Monaco Grand Prix weekend, with an interview from Toto Wolff, Rachael Laenen, team hospitality and events manager, and Lewis Hamilton’s number one mechanic Nathan Divey.

Interestingly we hear Toto speak of his relief to have bought an end to the downward spiral of performance Lewis Hamilton had been suffering and how the team are increasingly seeing Red Bull Racing as the main challenger this season.

Rachael Laenen discusses the challenges of a Monaco weekend in which the team entertain more than 300 guests (including Justin Bieber) across 4 locations in an area with poor phone reception and even worse wifi. It was a surprise to hear the team resort to traditional radio communication over the weekend, surely partners Tata Communications and Qualcomm could have put together a more innovative solution!

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: 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: 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: Red Bull Racing Numbers

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A second row lockout on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix served to reiterate  the continued resurgence in form for Red Bull Racing and act as some vindication for the teams decision to bring Max Verstappen into the team replacing Daniil Kvyat after only 4 races in the 2016 season.

Max joining the team coupled with a sensational qualifying performance lead to a dramatic increase in FOM World Broadcasting Feed exposure and it has to be said a level of confusion with commentators and graphics editors, with numerous occasions of  the wrong driver being called during commentary or displayed on screen.

Whilst the FIA do mandate the onboard camera (positioned above the airbox) of one car from each team must be fluorescent in colour this indicator is often missed with viewers focusing instead on driver helmet or number. Unfortunately  Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo share a substantially similar helmet design leaving fans, broadcasters, and editors to rely on driver number.

Camera positioning around the Circuit de Barcelona – Cataluyna lends itself to many long, and forward facing front shots, with which, as you can see from the images used here, it is almost impossible to identify driver numbers on the RB12.

Red Bull Racing’s role in what promises to be a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix should be significant. Taking this into consideration, could the team please move driver numbers to a lower point on the nosecone to enable quick and easy identification for all!

Formula One: All publicity is good publicity? – Judge for yourself. Please.

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Earlier this week, Bernie Ecclestone took part in an extensive interview wit Sir Martin Sorrell as part of the annual Advertising Week Europe Conference.

The interview can be seen in it’s entirety here.

Many news outlets and journalists have taken extracts from the interview to create headlines, possibly ignoring; context, humour, and situation. Rather than provide commentary on the interview, I recommend people view the interview in full for themselves.

Rightly or Wrongly Formula One is a product, Bernie Ecclestone is responsible for the product. He is representing the product in a way he deems fit. With Formula One struggling to make the back page of the broadsheets, Bernie succeeds in bringing it to the front.

Formula One: Too much of a good thing?

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The 2016 Motorsport Season kicks in to high gear this weekend with over 20  premier races taking place from locations all around the world.  As qualifying for second round of the Formula One Championship is taking place in Bahrain, the Long Beach round of Formula E will be getting under-way. This coupled with the opening rounds of the World Touring Car championship coming from Paul Ricard, the British Touring car championship from Brands Hatch. The second round of the Indycar championship, not mentioning the V8SC racing from Australia, Moto GP,2, &3 races and the World Super Bikes How can a be expected to keep up?!

With so many races taking place over a single weekend it will be almost impossible to keep track of the scheduling and results let alone any form of clear narrative from each event. On the scheduling front MsportXtra does an amazing job of keeping the motorsport super fan up to speed on what we should we watching next.  Although looking at that daunting  Sunday schedule I’m not sure there is much allowance for sleep!

 

 

For fans to commit to a series they need to feel a pull, a storyline, a driver or team to attach themselves too. Sure each series has its own unique pull, In the World Touring Cars people are curious to see if the returning Volvo can threaten the overly dominant Citroen as they enter their final year as a works team. In the British Touring Cars, will Team BMR and their new Subaru partnership we able to win from the work go? Coming from Phoenix, is it really safe for Indycar to return to the short oval? Will the winglets in MotoGP continue to create overtaking issues for riders? And in Formula E, can anyone challenge the dominance of Renault? So with all this going on how to you decide what to watch?

Do you commit to certain racing series now and stick with them for the season? If so which? Perhaps more fundamentally, has this wealth of racing categories forced organisers to look at racing as you would entertainment, focusing on the show rather than the sport?

Over the close season fans are desperate for track action, now we are left questioning how on earth can we find time to fit it all in? With Social Media, the water cooler of motorsport, it has become nigh on impossible to avoid results. So, similar to every other motorsport obsessive, I find myself hoping for a rainy day at home on Sunday, so I can sit back in my armchair, watch everything I can, then spend the next five days trying to make sense of it all!

Formula One: The Chase – Senna Vs Speed

Filmed at the Mexico ePrix Circuit. Formula E, with Mahinda Racing’s Bruno Senna and Former Formula One driver Scott Speed, continue to show other racing series the way with this innovative approach to capturing the essence of motorsport through drones.

Whilst safety concerns remain around the use of drone cameras to capture live racing events this film shows what the technology could be capable of.  Hopefully broadcasters will sit up an take notice of the potential the technology offers, both from a new direction in views of motor racing, but also in terms of cost! It’s a lot cheaper to but drones in the air than it is a helicopter.

Mahindra Racing Formula E Team and FIA Formula E today released a video ofa game of Chase between a drone and a Formula E car around the historic Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City.

This unique contest took place between Mahindra Racing driver Bruno Senna, piloting his Lumenier QAV210 quadcopter and American racer, Scott Speed piloting the Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car.

Bruno Senna said: “The Chase was so much fun. It was very cool to have such a spectacular circuit to ourselves with a drone and a racing car to play with. It was a great challenge, which is what flying these high performance drones is all about. My friends, who have watched my drone videos, know I am a bit of a daredevil when I am flying, but all I was thinking during filming was “don’t break a propeller, don’t break a propeller”

“Scott Speed really got into the spirit of the game, trying to confuse me by spinning and switching direction in the stadium or slowing down and then accelerating as fast as he could. It was so much fun and the footage from the drone looks really great. This was a wonderful opportunity to do something really different and was so much fun. I have just finished building an even faster drone with longer range and I am ready to challenge Formula E to a race again very soon.”

 

 

Formula One: Sky Sports to become exclusive home of F1

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Sky has agreed a new broadcast partnership with Formula One Management, strengthening its position as the home of sport offering unrivalled choice for fans.

 

The new agreement comprises:
Exclusive: Sky Sports will be the home of Formula 1® in the UK and Ireland from 2019 to 2024, offering live coverage of every Grand Prix.
Free to air: The FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX, together with highlights of all other races and Qualifying sessions, will be shown on a ‘free-to-air’ basis.
Sky Sports Mix: Additionally at least two other ‘prime time’ live races a season will be offered on the soon-to-be-launched Sky Sports Mix along with other F1 content.
UHD: For the first time every race starting with the 2017 Championship will be shown in the stunning picture quality of Ultra High Definition via Sky Q, the next-generation home entertainment system.

 

Sky Sports F1® will continue to be the only place to watch each Grand Prix weekend live for the next three seasons in the UK, with 21 races live in 2016 beginning with the 2016 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX last weekend.

 

The new agreement builds on the success of Sky Sports F1® since the launch of the award-winning channel in 2012. More than 13 million viewers have already enjoyed its live coverage with many more following F1® racing across Sky Sports’ digital outlets.

 

Bernie Ecclestone, CEO Formula One Group said: “I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky’s commitment to the Sport and standard of coverage is second to none.”

 

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: “This is a brilliant deal that takes Sky’s partnership with F1® to the next level.  Since 2012, we have demonstrated unrivalled commitment to F1®, offering fans innovations including a dedicated channel and the very best broadcasting talent. We are delighted that we are strengthening our coverage for viewers even further, with live and exclusive F1® from 2019 and the chance to watch in Ultra High Definition for the first time from next season.  We are pleased to support F1® and look forward to working with them to progress, develop and enhance coverage of the Championship during the agreement.”

 

Martin Brundle, commentator and analyst for Sky Sports F1® added: “I joined Sky Sports because I wanted to be part of a dedicated F1® channel with a total and long term commitment to the sport.  And we have certainly delivered on that.  In a fast changing media landscape, our coverage will get even better for F1® fans.”