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Brawn: F1 digital media to take off in 2018

NEWS STORY
23/11/2017

It's no secret that, much like those record labels that turned down The Beatles for being long-haired and noisy, deep down Bernie Ecclestone must regret that he never really got to grips with the digital age.

Despite being at the forefront of TV coverage of the sport, presiding over F1 at a time when other sports followed its lead, Ecclestone never got to grips with the digital age believing it to be a gimmick, a passing phase.

Though he finally saw the light, it was too little too late.

Not so, Liberty Media, which intends to make the sport's digital presence the cornerstone of its plans to not only win over new followers but to show those already on board what they've been missing.

Speaking at the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize Finale in Abu Dhabi, F1 technical boss Ross Brawn revealed that 2018, the sport's first season proper under its new ownership, will see some exciting digital innovations.

"Quite frankly, I think F1 is almost a start-up," he told the audience, "because there has been so little done on the digital and social media front, and the way the content of F1 was presented, so for us it really had been a fresh start.

"That is good and bad," he admitted. "It is good because we have an opportunity to create what we need going forward for the future, bad because there was nothing there to build on.

"But there are some really exciting things that people are going to start seeing next year, in this arena, of how information is presented.

"F1 is so content-rich, there is so much data, so much information, that we can layer it at whatever level the fan or the enthusiast wants to engage, and what we want is for the casual fan: to start to understand how rich is the content of F1 going into it. We are looking at how we communicate with the fans within a race so that we can again provide all those extra layers of information. There are some new initiatives that will come out next year.

"Most people have a mobile phone or an iPad or some sort of device," he continued. "If we can add that extra information, so that the guys in the grandstand, as well as watching the real track action, know what is going on with the race strategy, know what is going on with the tyres, know what is going with perhaps deeper information, getting the audio from all the cars and listening to the drivers, then that will be a great step.

"We need to introduce a system for the fans. It is a big task, it is a fairly massive task and we are just looking at how we best introduce it."

Other than the fact that this will cost money, the big concern for F1 fans - much like McLaren Red Bull and Toro Rosso - is reliability.

Thus far, F1's main entry on the digital stage has been the F1 Timing App, and regular readers will be aware of the numerous issues this app has had since its introduction.

Despite the high price it remains unreliable, and while there are some weekends when it works faultlessly there are far too many when it doesn't.

Many fans want as much information as the sport is willing to provide them with, however, it has to be accurate and trustworthy.

Furthermore, if they are to fork out Mercedes prices, they want Mercedes bullet-proof reliability, not Honda.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Yas Island, here.

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 24/11/2017 18:17

"As ever they seem to have missed the point.
Yes, by all means bombard the twittersphere, Facebook and any other digital medium that floats their collective boat (The SS Sinking Ship). But what really counts, when you're determined to charge, is the quality of the TV coverage.

Many will, like me, watch MotoGP on BT TV (in UK), and I'm usually fairly impressed by the very comprehensive nature of the pictures available, and the graphics occasionally superimposed on the picture.
These are all provided by Dorna (equivalent to Liberty).
One thing that always astonishes me is that they seem to be able to get interference-free Full HD live motion from the bikes, when F1 usually only manages nasty glitch lower-res stuff for a few seconds per lap. Maybe Sky has access to better (there's a play on words in there somewhere...)

The point is that with properly MODERN technology (what price 4k?) the scope for improving the basic product (the Pictures, if you're not at the Tracks) is immense. Then they can start thinking about how to provide various add-ons in Apps etc.

Of course a big quality upgrade in the Sporting spectacle wouldn't go amiss.....
"

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2. Posted by TokyoAussie, 24/11/2017 3:34

"More information sounds nice, but they have to take many factors into consideration.

I'm OK with them pushing more data, but only if it doesn't start lagging behind the real action AND as long as it doesn't cause the audio to start buffering constantly (IT HAS THAT PROBLEM NOW). Living in Japan with Japanese only TV commentary, the English audio in the F1 app is more important to me than the stats. The eye candy that is the virtual circuit with cars shown on the track is the one thing I use the least to be honest. Might be useful if the TV breaks down, but otherwise I rarely use it."

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