In a new Sanatander UK advert released over the weekend, Jenson Button is seen wearing Mclaren 2016 teamwear for the first time.
The design suggests the team will retain a similar style to 2015 in both teamwear and colour palette . The design does not feature any previously unannounced partnerships for the team, although these could be added at a later date.
The design has received a mix response on social media, however without the context of the complete kit it is difficult to draw any firm conclusion.
Respected British broadcasting news outlet Broadcast is reporting that ITV are set to over the free to air (FTA) broadcasting rights for Formula one from the BBC as early as 2016, 3 seasons ahead of the current contract. This site has contacted both the BBC and ITV for comment, both of whom responded that they do not comment on contract negotiations.
Under the current FTA UK agreement the BBC broadcast up to 50% of race weekend’s live with the remaining races broadcast in highlights form several hours after the race has taken place. SKY holds the broadcasting rights for all live race weekend coverage through the season.
Estimations on the costs surrounding the BBC’s agreement for F1 coverage range significantly from $20 to $60M per season. Whatever the true cost may be, in an environment in which the corporation is seeking to reduce costs F1 coverage may well be a luxury that can no longer be justified.
FTA coverage in a blend of live and highlights form, whilst not as strong as full live coverage has provided the BBC with a solid audience share since the deal came into place, although overall audience figures are on the decline.
News of ITV possibility taking on the FTA agreement comes at a time when overall audience levels for the sport are somewhat diminished, SKY are known to be exploring ways in which to reduce costs in their output.
With UK broadcasting agreements seemingly under re-evaluation perhaps now is the time to reconsider the way in which viewers receive F1 content. At present both the BBC and SKY have their own production teams sent to each race. This leads to a duplication of costs and headcount at each race. This despite both broadcasters using the same world feed for actual race and live session content. On site teams are in place to provide race build up and analysis. This compared to the way in which Formula E coverage is broadcast, where a single world feed is available to broadcasters and each country operates studio based build up and analysis. A studio based approach is far more cost effective and sustainable.
Whilst the BBC and SKY have been rightfully applauded for their breaking down the 4th wall approach to F1 broadcasting, in a cost conscious environment is now the time to consider a change? If ITV, a commercial entity, are to take on the FTA UK rights, rather than developing a new team to support the coverage, could they simply take on the SKY coverage, using the same broadcasting and or commentary team and content? The ITV coverage could be positioned by SKY as a promotional tool for the premium ‘ALL LIVE’ coverage, and sponsorship rights of the ITV coverage sold by SKY. This would give SKY access to a larger audience which would satisfy sponsor expectations. Such a model would allow ITV to broadcast the sport with minimal investment outside of the FOM broadcasting contract, and SKY could spread costs across a second broadcaster.
The audience for sports coverage is more dynamic than ever, in an environment in which broadcasters appear almost bullied by each other into paying astronomical fees for coverage rights is now the time to reconsider how the sport is delivered to the fans?
Lewis Hamilton continued his tour of the US chat show circuit appearing on the CBS’s Late Late Show with James Corden yesterday.
With the show attracting a nightly audience excess of 1.3M, Lewis continues to build his reputation in the US, a market in which F1 has historically struggled to gain traction.
Through the interview Lewis showed off his skills on a unicycle and talked openly about his ambitions in the music industry.
US chat shows booking appearances from Lewis demonstrate his appeal outside of traditional motorsport output. Bernie Ecclestone will be hoping Lewis can bring some of this new audience towards F1 in 2016.
As the challenging 2015 season draws to a close Mclaren took today’s free practice sessions in Abu Dhabi to focus on 2016 developments.
Today’s were a busy pair of practice sessions: not only did we refine MP4-30 for its last competitive outing on Sunday, but we also spent a considerable amount of time collecting and correlating data for use for our 2016 car.
Fernando’s car ran with a test rear suspension set-up for today, and he also ran an interim 2016-spec steering wheel. Both drivers conducted aero correlation work as we continue to improve our understanding of our car’s behaviour, with a view to optimising next year’s chassis.
“Many things could be behind this afternoon’s performance: first, I think we’ve made some improvements to the car – the team has kept pushing hard to bring performance. But, second, we probably ran the Supersoft tyre at the optimal point of the session, a little bit later than the others.
“I’m happy with the car, and our progress, but, unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be ninth-fastest tomorrow.
“I tried the Supersoft on my long run – as we expected, there’s a bit of graining on that particular tyre, so the race will be tough, but it’ll be the same for everybody”
To close out the year Mobil 1’s Grid TV are giving away a scale replica of Fernando Alonso’s helmet to enter the competition follow the below link:
“Our side of the garage was trying very different things from Fernando’s. Our programme was all about gaining an understanding for next year. I’ll be changing my car over to his settings tomorrow, which’ll make it a bit more enjoyable, but it’s all useful learning. “Fernando’s performance was very encouraging – we’re pretty happy with that – it’s very promising. I’ll be running that set-up on my car tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes. “Our biggest issue on the Supersoft tyre is overheating in the final sector. That makes the car quite pointy, so it’s about looking after the rears while also pushing the fronts hard to make them work in the first sector. It’s a tricky balance and will make for an interesting race.”
Mobil 1’s Grid TV are giving away a 1:2 replica of Jenson Buttons’s helmet to enter the competition follow the below link:
This was a very busy day, as we had a number of important test items to evaluate during free practice. Happily, we made good progress, and we’ve got some very useful data to take home and study as we busy ourselves with preparations for next year’s car.
“Moreover, it was pleasing to see Fernando set a time on the Supersoft tyre that was within a second of the fastest time of the afternoon; to have achieved that, on a circuit that we did not expect to favour our package, was encouraging, and bodes well for the rest of the weekend.
“Jenson didn’t find a comfortable balance in either of today’s sessions, something which was probably exacerbated by the shift in conditions from day into night, which didn’t smooth his progress.
“Nevertheless, we have a good baseline to take forward into tomorrow, and we’ll make progress tonight – of that you can be certain.
“Our first day of the last race in Abu Dhabi went smoothly. Both FP1 and FP2 sessions were completed according to the run-plans, and we were able to confirm the data-mapping on both power units.
“Fernando’s car had a high-voltage sensor go into fail mode at the very end of FP1, but a quick parts replacement was all that was necessary to prepare for FP2. He had a very good feel for the car during the evening session, and seemed satisfied with the overall set-up of the car and the power unit.
“Jenson ran smoothly during both sessions, but seemed to struggle to get the spot-on settings that he preferred. However, we gained an abundance of data from both drivers today, so it will be a busy night to analyse and further tweak the set-up tomorrow in preparation for qualifying and the race on Sunday.”
F1 news over the past 48 hours has been dominated with journalists commenting on how Formula One Management should wake up to social media and could have capitalised on the viral event that was #placesalonsowouldratherbe. In many respects the comments are correct; the viral event demonstrated that there is a quick thinking well humoured proportion of the F1 community with impressive photo editing skills. To have this level of engagement is something Formula One Management should be proud of and embrace. Perhaps, for example, through a 3 part competition run by sponsor Tata Communications (@tata_comm) evaluating the graphical content and future broadcast plans for the sport.
Putting the viral event into perspective, #placesalonsowouldratherbe saw 14,500 imprints on twitter; this is less than 15% of the total number of imprints from #BrazilGP, the event specific naming convention used by the Formula One twitter feed. Taking this a step further the Formula One Qualifying broadcast will likely have been seen by an audience of at least 20,000,000 people (a very conservative number even taking into consideration the current decline in F1 viewing figures) this would mean that 0.07% of the F1 audience participated in this viral event. Is this really an audience the Formula One Management Twitter feed should be seeking to capitalise on?
I’ve read a number of articles commenting that other sports or racing series do a far better job than Formula One on engaging with fans through social media, and whilst it can be argued that prior to the 2015 season this would be accurate it is no longer correct. The Formula One Twitter feed serves as an information point, providing exclusive pre and post-race content. It does not engage in conversation with followers, fans or teams, and why would it? Would it be an effective use of resources? I have read comments that Formula E and other racing series do a better job at engaging with their fan base through social media, on this point I disagree. The main twitter feed for Formula E operates in the same way as the Formula One feed. On occasion the individual maintaining the feed will acknowledge or respond to messages, but only in an informative style and this can only be achieved due to scale of the audience. The reputation Formula E has with respect to social media is borne out of the team and sponsor engagement.
Again some perspective @F1 has 1.68M followers on twitter, @FIAFormulaE has 76K followers on twitter. It is not realistic to expect Formula One Management to engage with fans in the same way Formula E can, the resource requirement is not realistic. @SauberF1Team has over 300K followers (the smallest of any F1 team) @AmlinAndretti has 13K followers (the most of any Formula E team) it is not realistic to expect the same level of engagement from teams in each series.
In my opinion, the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event served to demonstrate a failing not from @F1 but from that of @MclarenF1 and its sponsors. Many Formula One team sponsors have taken to live tweeting during on-track action, commenting on events as they unfold, commonplace with feeds such as Mobil’s @Grid1TV, or on the progress of their respective team or drivers seen with Force India F1 team sponsor @hypeenergy for example. I understand there are restrictions on the usage of team branding without agreement for fear or misrepresenting the team brand or ethos but imagine if the Hilton Group had taken the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral event and placed Alonso in the lobby of their flagship hotel, or if they turned the hashtag into a discount code for online bookings.
For me the failing of the #placesalonsowouldratherbe viral was that sponsors did not react quickly enough. Perhaps it is time for the teams, not F1, to further adapt to social media. Give sponsors a freedom to engage in a way they believe their followers will respond.
As a side note, the image of Alonso used in this article, in every #placesalonsowouldratherbe tweet and subsequent article is the property of FOM. It was taken from their broadcast feed. FOM would be entirely within their rights to pursue copyright infringement cases for each use. The F1 of old may have taken this approach. F1 has is embracing social media.
Formula E continue to lead the way in Social Media engagement with the announcement of a partnership with Little Dot Studios, a next generation broadcaster and producer, creating and distributing video content across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope.
Founded by Andy Taylor and Selma Turajlic just over two years ago, Little Dot Studios has grown rapidly and now distributes video content on social platforms for over 60 producers, broadcasters and rights-holders worldwide. In August alone, Little Dot Studios amassed over 350 million views to its client’s content. Under the partnership, Little Dot Studios will distribute social videos including clips, highlights and compilations from each race, as well as unseen footage from the pitlane and behind the scenes. Little Dot Studios will also be on site at each race, producing original video content for each of the social platforms.
Opinion – In the spirit of continuous improvement Formula E continue exploit social media as a tool to bring the series to the public. It is impressive to see Formula E can make these forms of agreements alongside TV broadcasting deals with the likes of Eurosport, ITV, & Rai, a feet Formula One either have not attempted or have not been able to manage. In a period of growth and with a strategy of increasing brand awareness Formula E continue to make all the right noises. The challenge will come in attempting to monetize the sport in the future.
Formula E fans will have the chance to boost their favourite driver during the races this season following changes confirmed to this unique socially interactive concept.
Starting at the Beijing ePrix on October 24, voting for FanBoost will remain open during the opening six minutes of the race.
As well as being able to vote during the race, fans will also find it much easier to have their say as changes to the voting system will make it possible to vote using a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This has been achieved through a partnership with Telescope, the global leader in real-time fan engagement.
Voting will be possible through the official Formula E website and app and fans will be able to vote once a day through each of the available channels. As was the case during season one, FanBoost voting will open 12 days before the race takes place, which means that voting will open for the Beijing ePrix on Monday, October 12.
As a result of these changes FanBoost will only be available on the car that the drivers get into following their mid-race car swap. Unlike last year FanBoost will provide an extra 100kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180kW and 200kW.
This presents the three winning teams and drivers with a strategic call to make. Do they raise the power for a short boost or run at a slightly lower power for a prolonged period? As before, FanBoost can only be used once, rather than in a series of short bursts.
OPINION: In race FanBoost will in theory bring fans closer to the sport, encouraging live viewing which will be music to the ears of the FTA broadcasters recommitting to and joining the sport for season two. Flexibility in deployment will appeal to teams and drivers, but removing FanBoost from the first stint of the race feels like a miss. Qualcomm and technical partner’s developments in induction charging on track must be the ultimate end point for FanBoost. Overall it’s fantastic to see the series evolve.