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Some good news for F1 TV viewers
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Some good news for F1 TV viewers
Posted By:   |  19 Mar 2009   |  9:49 am GMT  |  26 comments

There was so much information being given out at the recent FOTA press conference in Geneva that the part about improving the TV coverage was largely overlooked by the media.

As it has subsequently turned out the FIA has not adopted the FOTA proposals on rules and cost savings and instead has very much gone it’s own way.

However, according to Autosport, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday that he will make sure that his TV direction team make use of the enhanced graphics being offered by FOTA to improve the TV coverage. Some of these ideas are really good, such as this one which illustrates the different lines the drivers take.
picture-10

Another idea which was put forward by Flavio Briatore’s commercial working group, was to have a pit stop predictor, which uses GPS positioning technology to predict where a car is likely to rejoin. This will take away some of the suspense, but it may equally enhance the excitement in a close race for position.
picture-11

Other improvements proposed by FOTA include, highlighting the cars which are fuelled to the finish, a GPS positioning map showing where cars are on track, opening up more car data and opening up all the radio traffic, which will happen this year.

And finally, FOTA suggested pit stop competition be part of the show, with a point awarded to the team with the fastest stop. This would start next year when refuelling is banned, so it would a question of who has the fastest pit stop.
picture-9

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26 Comments
  1. dulait says:

    Should be interesting to note the various “Blocking lines” the de facto number two drivers take in support of their team mate’s championship quest after the first few rounds when a team switches all its focus to a single driver, under the wonderful “Wins” system.

    Then again, if the championship protagonist within a team is not running in the first few positions during a race, the likelihood is he’ll already have retired in order to save the engine and gearbox for the next race instead, so blocking won’t even be required. Genius

    Somebody end this madness

  2. natef1 says:

    Hmm, will all this stuff be shoved in our faces? Sure, some of these things could be really useful, but there are times when you just want to watch the action and not have tonnes of on-screen clutter getting in the way of the sight of the scope in F1.

    Do we really need pit-stop predictions? I don’t think so.

    Opening the radios will be fantastic, but some of these other ideas.. I’m somewhat skeptical of what they really add to the racing.

  3. F1Wolf says:

    pit stop competition as a part of the TV show is fine, but that should be only for the viewers entertainment. rewarding fastest pit stop with a championship point is a silly idea …

  4. Dom Leste says:

    Yes this is all good i like to see a improvement on how the drivers brake. So far the brake indicator just on/off graphic unlike the throttle inputs show how the drivers apply the throttle.

    Like A1GP vid below shows

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK2_pf5lOe0

    In motogp and A1GP you see how the drivers brake progressively. Example at Laguna Seca for motogp Stoner was using 100% brakes while Rossi seem to use only 50% depends on braking style, Brake pressure and all but still fascinating.

    Example at Spa 2008 it wouldve been nice to have seen both both braking/throttle inputs from Kimi & Lewis last lap at the sametime rather then focusing with the onboard camera. I think thats how the cameras missed Kimi spin on the last lap!

  5. mattanddebz says:

    I think the more data you can convey to viewers the better. It’s probably the most technical sport in the world. The more information you can get the more involved you can feel.

    It’ll no doubt bring in more viewers who before just thought it was “a bunch of cars going round in circles”. This is of course a good thing no matter how you look at it. The sport relies on viewers, the more viewers the more exposure for sponsors and teams, the more money the sport can make and the further the sport can progress both technically and as an entertainment.

    It’ll also be interesting to see how Kangeroo TV make use of all this new “open” data in the hand held devices. They’re definitely a great tool to have during race weekends.

  6. john g says:

    yawn more for the hyperactive attention-deficient channel-hopper.

    please bernie, just leave F1 to the fans. a pitstop predictor? what’s the point, you find out where the car comes out 10 seconds later!! didn’t they use to have a car position map back in the old days? i don’t like all the unveiling of the fuelling strategy either, it adds nothing but takes away sometimes what little excitement there may be in otherwise dull races.

    racing lines and car data could very well be quite interesting as these add to the depth of the coverage. the same goes for pit to car radio, as long as alain permain is banned (come on mate, keep pushing)

    to Dom Leste, the current graphics are representative of actual braking force – the brakes just require 100% attack most of the time. i was at a test recently where the data showed that on braking, nick heidfeld was mashing the pedal so hard that he was up against the physical brake stop on every braking zone!

    one thing that i would like to see is the speed gauge turned back into a proper round gauge like the revs – the glowing worm is rubbish. also, we no longer need the static hold on the rev counter now that engines are all limited – it was only relevant where some manufacturers were capable of spinning up to 20000rpm

  7. rpaco says:

    Showing the lines will be very interesting especially in qualifying. We shall be able to see who is getting the max out of the car and how one error affects the following corner etc. It would be good also to see the braking point on the same “line ” graphic, then as Dom says above we can see the difference in braking style.

    For those of us who have had at least some track experience it will perhaps mean a lot more initially, but that can be remedied with some of Martin’s tuition sessions, which were a good feature of the ITV coverage. On ITV they were mainly concerned with the cars but they could easily be extended to on track technique.

  8. Wingers says:

    Well as a Formula one (and general motorsports of all formula, 2 wheels or 4) Fanatic of 15 years plus… I’m 26 now, so you do the math.

    I feel this ‘new and improved’ f1.. is incredibly patronizing to myself and I’m sure to many other readers too. I have taken great onus on learning everything there is about the sport. I have spent thousands of hard earned Rands (South Africa), to buy imported Autosports magazines, F1 etc. Spent countless hours on the internet, which as a young lad I specifically provided all the benefits for my old man to get this technology so i could surf f1 sites and download pictures and print out Damon Hill’s cars and paste it on my wall.

    I specifically came over to the UK to work, for one major reason. To attend the British Grand Prix and attend the GoodWood festival of speed. All of which I achieved through my own determination and on my own steam. I am that committed to this sport!

    Now as a Fan I make my points on all of the polls and opinions for the sport to move forward. I understand that making the sport less complicated helps potential new watchers take an interest. But wasn’t that the point of A1GP (which is a TERRIBLE series in my opinion, just sub standard everything)?? I’m sorry, but if that is what they want, you are going to lose fans to Nascar, as it will be more technically interesting.

    The FIA has forgotten that there are millions of very technically astute people, who follow F1 for what it is, was, and hopefully still will be… A huge technical challenge. And lets not get into the points, thats going to bring ridiculous new strategies rendering us back to the days when Rubens rode shotgun for Michael… believe me it will happen. You think Kimi sulked last year, what happens if say after 2 races this year Massa has won two races, and now Kimi is leading race no. 3 and Massa is in 2nd place…

    I’m sorry, if you can’t work out simple arithmetic, like a win is equal to 10 points etc, this sport is above you, and you should rather watch wrestling, don’t waste your time. Easier to understand, my …! I’m sure the FOTA must be furious, as they had very good reasoning for the proposed 12 – 9 – 7 etc point system, to avoid potential messes like I mentioned above!

    I’m all for new informative graphics, but lets not completely destroy the show. I agree with James, whats the point of hiding your fuel in quali, just for it all to be ‘leaked’, and the lap everyone stops is predicted on a silly graphic prior to the race even starting… What is the point of watching the race then? And whats worse, they want to provide a estimation graphic so when Alonso comes in to pit you know (provided his stop is as expected, and this will be accurate as they know exactly how much fuel is onboard) he will slot in 2 seconds behind Rosberg… will it really kill anyone to see that happen live rather than be told thats what will more than likely happen?

    I was so incredibly excited about this new season, and I am so disappointed that the FIA can’t ever play fair or even more so logically. They remind me of Grandparents, where their rules will always take preference as they are the ‘elders’.

    Sorry this has dragged on, but its my passion for the dissatisfaction I am feeling as my favourite sport I watch every single quali and race every single year becomes more and more of a petty circus. I can see a CART vs INDY fiasco coming around the corner. And quite frankly this time, I’m with the Manufacturers!

    Captain Patronized!

  9. Kalle says:

    Awarding a point for fastest pitstop might sound like a silly idea in F1, but it feels like something A1GP should consider. Team effort plays a major role in the series and there are quite large gaps in the teams’ performance in this area. The pit crew can really make a difference in A1GP (more so than in F1) and awarding a point for a job well done would be a nice touch.

    Cornering line comparisons should be great. Also: ghost cars in qualifying!

  10. Lee Grant says:

    Is there any news on GP2 coverage this year?

  11. PaulL says:

    It’d be better if they had High Definition instead of these new info gadgets, but given we’ve got a FTA onboard channel plus classic F1 on the BBC that’s a significant step forward in itself, so I guess HD can wait.

  12. daniel says:

    2010 – a point for the fastest pitstop

    2011 – a point for the best paint job? Best tyre smoking perhaps?

    Mssrs Briatore, Mosely, Ecclestone… please close the door as you leave…

  13. gareth price says:

    “a GPS positioning map showing where cars are on track”

    AT LAST!

  14. Mike Ellison says:

    I like the idea of showing the lines. I would have liked that in Schumi’s early days – he often took a distinctly different turn-in on corners than the rest of the field. I always wondered if that distinction went away because the other drivers copied him or because it didn’t work for him.

  15. Stephen Hill says:

    @PaulL

    Another vote for HD :)

  16. john g says:

    i totally agree with your sentiments winger, except for one bit. the FIA have not forgotten the millions of hard-core fans who understand and appreciate the technical side of the sport. they just don’t care.

    a point for fastest pitstop is a poor proposal (by FOTA i believe?) it adds nothing – getting your guy out quickly is reward enough.

  17. rpaco says:

    The electronics must be there by now to show not only the lines but simultaneously the throttle and brake graphs on a moving plane on the line. ( to any 3D CAD modelers, this would be a bit like an expanding profile on a trajectory)
    OR you can change the colour and thickness of the line to show throttle and brake pressure. You should only need two colours. (There is no point when you are cruising.) So you could see everything at every point, ok I am a nut but would like to see the revs, gears/ratios, diff and torque and power on there as well plus KERS status ie charge or discharge rate. I remember that Schuey’s braking and throttle patterns looked like the Himlayas while Jens’s is like the home counties. (gently rolling hills) Why was Schuey so fast? Sorry but I haven’t read your book James but would guess he was always so much in control that being on the edge to him meant that the edge had two sides the other one had to be explored too which required very rough instantaneous throttle action. And then read Jackie Stewart’s book where smooth is next to godliness!

  18. rpaco says:

    Stephen: With all the radios supposedly open, the producers or directors or whatever, (sorry I can tell the difference) will have loads to pick from, will the BBC have someone listening on each frequency in order to shout when something interesting is said?

    In any case the teams will all start talking in code, with all the others frantically writing down phrases to decode later (when they said kippers it meant change to wets and custard means push)

    Enigma it won’t be! But spying may reach new heights ;-)
    Not of course that any team would dream of peeping in another’s garage.
    PSSST wanna buy some codes mate?

  19. John S says:

    Fine if THE TEAM receives a point for fastes pit stop, but NOT the driver.
    The driver has a championship and so does the team; keep it that way.

  20. DC says:

    I’d trade it all for HD.

  21. rpaco says:

    In case you have Sunday afternoon race withdrawal symptoms James’ ex colleagues have the BTCC on ITV4 from 11;45 to 18:00

    Usually an excellent and exciting series, full of incident, paint swapping and confusion, once again including, unexpectedly, Jason Plato. (In some yank car).

  22. rpaco says:

    Once again an entertaining session from the 5 Live radio team who were doing the tv commentary for P and P2 this morning. Congratulations to them, whose style I like a lot more than the real tv team.
    BTW What is Kangaroo tv? The web pages seem to show some sort of hand held mini tv game.

    The relevance is that Kangaroo tv is mentioned at the end of the commentary.

  23. rpaco says:

    Shame that the line is not being shown on the tv pics but only on a simulator thing on the bbc website.

    Just watching Police Interceptors on Ch5 and note that the helicopter uses an infra red camera.

    Do any tv crews have infra red cameras James? It would be interesting to see comparative heat sources on the different cars. In fact I am sure the teams must use them, if not why not! They must show the heat dispersal and and heat flow paths. Gonna be some extra hot parts now with KERS batteries and supply cables.

    I think it would be of interest to viewers as well as us retired engineers, anoraks/old gits.

  24. rpaco says:

    So what happened then?
    We once saw the comparison of lines with ghost cars and twice the infra red but only in a garage, then nothing!

    So much for Bernies promise!!

    1. James Allen says:

      The comparison of lines was used quite a bit during practice and is a great tool. Infra red just showed how cold the mechanics were! Rpaco, thanks for your notes on the new site. All have been taken on board and we are working on getting some of those things incorporated.

  25. Stephen Kellett says:

    Opening the radios is the worst idea. I’ve hated the past few seasons when we have to listen to a few words over a poor radio link, lots of noise and what they have to say is so insightful “Push, we’ve go to overtake him now”.

    Well, Doh, I’d never have guessed, thats racing.

    I’d rather listen to what Martin has to say about the race unfolding than uninteresting radio traffic.

    And of course opening the radios gives each time the skinny on what the others are telling their drivers, which blows wide open any strategy games they were playing. Another nail in the suspense coffin.

    Gone are the days of encrypted comms for the teams. Shame.

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