Season Four of the FIA Formula E World Championship got underway this weekend, with rounds 1 & 2 of the action coming from the streets of Hong Kong. The all electric championship continued to thrill fans with ambitious on-track action, and controversies both on and off the track. For Season 4, championship management has stepped up a gear in their creative approach to social media engagement and radical on-screen graphics.
As interest in the championship continues to grow, sponsors and broadcasters are increasingly keen to get in on the action. The latest high profile partner to switch from Formula One to Formula E being Hugo Boss, joining the likes of Allianz and Official Champagne Partner G.H. Mumm in switching categories to refresh their involvement in motorsport and engage with a new audience.
Another partnership announced between Seasons 3 & 4 of Formula E was an enhanced partnership with the Discovery Group, which see’s Eurosport take on increased broadcast rights across a number of European territories. In the case of the UK, Formula E will now be broadcast on Channel 5, BT Sport, & Eurosport.
Through season 3, Channel 5’s Formula E output was criticised for the show anchor and race pundit being removed from the event and the director cutting away from key moments in order to fit a channel schedule. The Channel has addressed this feedback in Season 4, with increased involvement at the races. Unfortunately for the opening rounds of the championship the channel did not have rights to broadcast races live.
Live broadcast rights in the UK for the Hong Kong ePrix weekend fell to Eurosport. Curiously in their approach to Formula E coverage, Eurosport have chosen not to use the Formula E World Feed commentary provided by Jack Nicholls, Dario Franchitti, & Bob Varsha, instead, they are working with in-house commentators for Hong Kong at least Tom Gaymor and Mike Conway.
The commentary duo of Jack Nicholls & Dario Franchitti have, over 3 seasons developed a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging dynamic, they convey a passion for the championship and critically attend the races. By contrast the Eurosport team of Tom Gaymor & Mike Conway felt removed from the action on track. Providing a dispassionate overview of the action.
Commentary missed both simple and critical elements of coverage, making fundamental errors in identifying drivers. Put simply, the joy and enthusiasm of Formula E was missing.
Eurosport’s desire to differentiate itself from other broadcasters is understandable, but Formula E’s core appeal, besides technological, is its fast pace, close racing, and unexpected results. Commentators should act as advocates for the championship. Their enthusiasm should drive fans to find more content. The Eurosport UK Team did not achieve this in Hong Kong. Quite the opposite in fact, with many fans commenting they were left cold by the coverage.
The simplest and most cost effective solution would be for the channel to use World Feed Commentators from the Marrakesh ePrix onwards. Why try and reinvent the wheel?
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.
L’Oreal Men have launched their first advertising campaign with brand ambassador Lewis Hamilton, introducing followers of the brand to Lewis through a A-Z of what makes the 3 time World Champion tick.
Interestingly Vegas is listed as the V in Lewis’ life, perhaps he knows more about the possible race in the Nevada desert than has been made public.
This partnership with L’Oreal marks Lewis Hamilton taking further steps to develop Brand Hamilton away from the circuit. L’Oreal are no strangers to Formula One Champion partnerships having worked with Michael Schumacher in the past, as seen in this advert.
To see the original ID article on the campaign click here
You can follow the campaign as it develops through the L’Oreal Men Expert Twitter profile here
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.”
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.”
The 2016 version of the smartphone application puts Verizon IndyCar Series fans in the driver’s seat with a wide array of features that take the fan experience to the next level. It is available for both Android and iOS devices and is now available globally.
Previously available only via carriers in the United States, the INDYCAR Mobile App is now accessible in all countries except Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
“The Verizon IndyCar Series has a large global audience and, thanks to our partners at Verizon, those fans are now able to get even closer to the action with the INDYCAR Mobile App,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “As we prepare for a legendary season, we’re eager for our fans around the globe to experience the benefits of following Verizon IndyCar Series action with the INDYCAR Mobile App.”
Verizon customers in the United States are rewarded with the full range of features including live video streams of race weekend sessions (except the race broadcast), in-car video streams from 360-degree cameras, an interactive three-dimensional “Live View” with real-time leaderboards and car telemetry, two-dimensional “marching ants” with a leaderboard and car telemetry, radio chatter between drivers and their pit crews, streaming audio from the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and other content exclusive to the INDYCAR Mobile App.
Non-Verizon customers in the U.S. and international customers have access to exclusive video on demand, a timing and scoring leaderboard, social media feeds and other exclusive content.
Sky is launching a major new commitment to Virtual Reality (VR) content, bringing its expertise in storytelling to the creation of immersive experiences that will put the viewer right at the heart of the action. Over the coming months, Sky will transport fans of sports, movies, news and entertainment to locations around the world, offering a truly unique perspective on major events.
To step up the production of VR content across all its markets, Sky has created Sky VR Studio, a dedicated in-house VR production unit. The first pieces of fully immersive VR content to be produced by the unit will be released on Friday – two unprecedented films shot during Formula 1 testing in Barcelona, which will transport viewers to the pit lane, into the team garages, and out onto the track.
The two F1 VR experiences, which were produced in conjunction with Formula One Management and Williams Martini Racing, will be made available via the Facebook 360 Video platform. The full VR experience will also be available on the Oculus platform, and viewable on the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets. Later in the year, Sky will look to distribute content through a dedicated Sky VR app.
Over the coming year, Sky VR Studio will drive the creation of cinematic, fully immersive VR content, producing more than 20 individual films, across a unique range of Sky content – from major cultural events in news to some of the biggest sporting events on the planet.
The team, which is led by Executive Producer Neil Graham, includes production staff with rare and valuable experience in VR film making. It will be bolstered with the addition of award-winning VR director Richard Nockles, who directed Sky VR Studio’s F1 film, and is behind a wide range of VR projects for a number of global brands.
Sky has been building its expertise in VR for a number of years. In 2013, the company invested in Jaunt, a US-based company pioneering cinematic virtual reality. Since then, Sky has been carrying out testing across a range of events. Already, the Sky News team has produced ‘360’ videos, taking viewers to the centre of the migrant crisis with footage from the refugee landing beach in Lesbos, and the refugee camp in Calais. Sky Movies also trialled the technology at the recent premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving a unique view of the red carpet.
JWGP will post updates on the VR content from Williams and Sky as they become available.
The new lead anchor of UK network Channel 4’s free-to-air coverage, Steve Jones, compared its twists and turns to Hollyoaks ( UK Soap Opera) , saying that he’s just as fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes as he is by the racing action.
“Only 20% of what’s going on [in F1] is on the screen when the cars are on track,” life-long F1 fan Jones told reporters at Channel 4’s official launch.
“Beyond that, there’s the politics behind it, it’s almost like Hollyoaks on wheels! There’s so much going on behind the scenes.
“It is just fascinating and that’s been the thing that I’ve been so honoured to be around, and watch it and just yum it up. All those little relationships between the drivers and the team principals, between the teams themselves.
“That’s what I’m hoping to bring to our coverage, really – just to get those relationships.”
With less than a week to go until season finally gets underway, Channel 4 have been heavily promoting thier coverage through social media.
Mehul Kapadia Managing Director of Formula One for Tata Communications took time out from preparations for the opening round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship to talk to JWGP about the Tata Communications partnership in Formula One give insight into the work that goes into an F1 weekend. discuss how the partnership has developed over time and share his thoughts on possible future developments in Formula One broadcasting alongside the plans Tata communications have in place to enhance fans enjoyment of the sport.
What is it that attracted Tata Communications to Formula One initially?
Formula 1 is a sport of extremes. It’s the fastest, most technically advanced, and the world’s most popular annual sporting series with over half a billion people watching the action each season. With around 20 races each season – from the streets of Monaco to the deserts of Bahrain – it is one of the most challenging environments from a connectivity point of view. And since becoming the Official Connectivity Provider for F1 in 2012, we’ve relished this challenge.
Underpinned by the key message ‘Speed to lead’, our work with F1 is not a sponsorship deal but a technology partnership and a showcase of our reach and capabilities to current and prospective enterprise customers. The underlying message is “if we can do it for F1, we can do it for anyone”. There is absolutely no room for error. With our fifth F1 season getting soon underway, I’m proud to say that our team has excelled in this high pressure environment. This successful partnership with Formula One Management (FOM) has also opened doors for us to the wider F1 ecosystem. In 2013, we signed a deal with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to bring the team three times faster track connectivity from the Silver Arrow cars to the team’s UK headquarters. This allows engineers to make data-led decisions, ultimately helping the team perform better on track. In 2014, made a deal with the Official F1 licensee/broadcaster Chello DMC for Sport1 to deliver high-quality video feeds of all Grand Prix coverage via our fibre network. And, in 2015, we were appointed by Formula One Management as a broadcast supplier for GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series, delivering an end-to-end fibre and satellite solution to broadcasters from across the globe at the 12 race locations. Ultimately, it’s all about ensuring a great F1 experience for fans, wherever they might be, or whatever device they might be using to follow the action.
Where do Tata Communications see F1 viewing 5 years from now?
Five years is an eternity in technology terms! Innovations such as virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices and Internet of Things, for example, have the potential to take sports broadcasting – not just F1 – to a new level in the not-too-distant future. What all these innovations have in common is that they rely on superfast, reliable fibre connectivity on a global scale, which is what we excel in. We provide the underlying foundations – the global superfast network – which will enable Formula One Management and the whole F1 ecosystem to explore VR and other cutting edge technologies to bring fans closer to the sport.
We’re committed to ensuring that our network is ready for whatever the future might bring, which is why each season we undertake different proof-of-concepts, testing the latest innovations together with FOM, pushing technology to its limits. One of our proof-of-concepts involved broadcasting the first ever F1 race in 4K. To help bring the race to people’s living rooms, we undertook a trial at the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix practice session delivering live footage in 4K quality over our network to FOM’s Technical HQ in Biggin Hill. That’s a distance of over 10,000 kilometres and multiple time zones. Although this first ever live 4K feed of an F1 event over fibre was not broadcast to viewers at home, our proof-of-concept demonstrated the capability to provide fans the best possible viewing experience in the comfort of their own homes. The critical factor here is connectivity and the ability to transmit broadcast content seamlessly worldwide and manage it in ways that is just not possible via satellite link. In the not-too-distant future, Formula One Management may be able to select specific live video feeds on the fly to share with fans.
For more information on Tata Communications 4K trials in Formula One follow this link.
Can you walk me through the F1 Tata Communications onsite/race weekend set up?
There is an enormous technical set-up that enables F1 races to take place and be delivered to millions of racing fans at home. And, as data, real-time communication and high-bandwidth video become increasingly critical for each Grand Prix, superfast fibre connectivity lies at the heart of this set-up.
We connect each of the around 20 Grand Prix locations to our global superfast fibre-optic network. There is about 20 kilometres of fibre distributed in ducts at each track– and then decommissioned after the race weekend. This means setting up the equivalent of an entire town’s network infrastructure in three to four days and dismantling it all in just three hours. This process would traditionally take two to four weeks. Race-goers might not see the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, but there really is no room for error. With millions of racing fans keen to keep up to speed with each moment in real time, any loss of connectivity – even for a nanosecond – is simply not an option.
Would streaming services allow viewers more freedom in giving viewers freedom in reviewing F1 content live?
Our work in F1 has innovation at its core – we’re constantly looking for new ways to bring fans closer to the sport and make them part of the action. Streaming, and specifically live over-the-top (OTT) broadcasting, might change how fans are able to enjoy F1 in the future. We undertook a trial at last year’s Singapore GP practice session to test this technology in action. Traditional OTT content delivery results in a lag of up to several minutes between the live TV broadcast and the online feed of an F1 race viewed on a tablet or smartphone, for example. This prevents real-time social media interaction between viewers. So, a person watching the action on TV can see a crucial overtake first and tweet about it, potentially ruining the race experience for those watching the race on a tablet.
Will Tata continue its fan engagement projects/competition in 2016? To what extent have these influenced the F1 product?
We introduced the Formula 1 Connectivity Innovation Prize in 2014, together with Formula One Management and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, with the aim of spurring innovation in the sport. And, after two years and hundreds of entries, I feel that we have really helped move the needle in driving bold thinking in the sport in two areas: fan engagement and the use of data in the sport.
The Grand Prize winner of 2014 demonstrated how social networks could be harnessed for the indexing of over 60,000 hours of F1 video footage archived in Biggin Hill since 1981. The winning idea not only supported FOM’s ambition to digitally index the footage with audio and text commentary so it can be used in a meaningful way and enhanced for fans to consume in the future – it would also give fans a whole new channel to engage in the sport, enabling them to add their own photos, anecdotes, travelogues and memorabilia to the archive footage, essentially making them part of F1 history. And, last year’s winner highlights the growing role of data in the sport. The winning idea demonstrated a new approach for displaying critical race car telemetry and data collected via on-board sensors to enable engineers at the race track and at the factory to make faster decisions through real-time visualisation of data. As the volume of data that teams gather and analyse continues to grow each season, this type of tool would enable engineers to make sense of it and adjust their race strategy as needed much more quickly.
We look forward to the launch of the 2016 Prize, and invite the brightest minds and biggest F1 fans around the world to harness their ingenuity, technical know-how and passion for F1 racing through this competition.
You can keep up to date with Tata Communications through their Twitter feed here.
To hear all the latest from Mehul Kapadia himself you can follow him on Twitter through this link
It isn’t often I find myself watching football, but earlier this week I found myself watching the Liverpool vs West Ham match on BT Sport. It was my first experience of the channel and it was interesting to see a few Formula One presentation techniques have been adopted.
Firstly, it was great to see the natural presentation style of Jake Humphrey and his trusty iPad back on screen, arguably the most comfortable sports anchor on screen today. What surprised me was to see Jake and his team of pundits covering the game not only from the stadium but actually on the pitch. At first I wondered if this had become Jake’s signature style, having made the integrated presentation style his own during his time as lead F1 anchor for the BBC. In fact, I looked into the production team behind the BT Sport content to see if it was the work of the Jake’s production team, future Channel 4 F1 content provider Whisper Films, but it appears not to be.
The technique on the face it of it worked well, during half time analysis, the viewer was not left feeling removed from the action by heading to a studio. Unfortunately, the novelty quickly wears off, whilst the team are on the pitch they have no interaction with anyone involved with the game. It feels like BT Sport are working towards an integrated show but the clubs or key players aren’t’ quite ready for it. Which frankly after the broadcaster elevating broadcast rights deals into Billion-pound territory is unacceptable.
What works so well about the style for Sky and the BBC in Formula One is that a viewer feels closer to the sport, they feel like they know the venue, and that the stars of the show can be, and are, approached at any moment. The reason this approach is favoured by Sky and other channels is that the element of unknown keeps viewers tuned in. This is something Football struggles to achieve. Fans have no inclination to stick around after the conclusion of a game. Especially if their team has lost
So what can Football take from Formula One presentation techniques?
Broadcasters must demand access on their terms. Players and all levels of management must be willing to be approached at any point post and pre match by the broadcaster in locations defined by the broadcaster not the team. Interviews should be conducted in the stadium in full view of supporters, with supporter interaction encouraged. Commentators could engage in post match social media conversations with fans, the output of which could then used to produce post show content on air. Movement of players and management through the stadium should be tracked by film crews, minimal areas of any stadium should be off limits. Having an anchor and pundit team on the pitch is irrelevant if they do not / can not interact with what or who is around them. It’s time for football broadcasters to elevate broadcasts to the next generation. Social media interaction, fan response, live player response is all key. Football clubs must earn the huge expense they have now become for broadcasters. For the value of the industry to be sustained broadcasters need to turn a 90-minute game into an engaging must see 3 hour show.
BT Sport, with Jake Humphrey, seem to be working toward this ambition, it would be fantastic to see a presentation style successfully pioneered in F1 be adopted throughout Football.