Insight: Behind the scenes look at how Formula 1 TV now operates team radio and other functions remotely
Innovation
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Mar 2014   |  12:06 pm GMT  |  102 comments

When you watch next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, some of what you see and hear on your screens will be being operated by technicians sitting next to an airfield in Kent, collaborating in real time with colleagues 10,500 miles away.

This is something a little different – the first time we’ve been behind the scenes at F1’s Technical Headquarters in Biggin Hill, in the South of England and we’ve made a video of it with our colleagues from Tata Communications.

As well as much of the equipment needed to put on a Grand Prix at 19 venues around the world, things like the timing systems, communications systems and facilities for race stewards to view incidents on track, Formula 1’s entire TV production facility is based in Biggin Hill; all the cameras, the edits suites, mixing desks and so on. The kit that travels around the world, creating the outside broadcast coverage that you watch at home, is assembled and shipped from Biggin Hill.


But here we get the chance to see the most recent F1 TV innovation – a Remote Operations Centre at the heart of the building from where many functions can be operated remotely, which in the past would have been operated on site. From here they can monitor the programme vision sources and output, many of the formula1.com functions, and even operate robotic track camera heads at the circuit. And for this season all of the Team Radio is going to be managed from here.

“We use a reverse data path to control a trackside robotic camera and this year we intend to migrate the Team Radio operation, the daily news edits and the remote producer’s position into this centre,” says FOM’s Chief Technical Officer John Morrison. “We also provide a number of the website functions here, these include digital still, video edits and data processing.

“(The remote operations centre) allows us to reduce the pressure on travelling staff number and freight.”

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102comments

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1

Thank you James.. I did wonder how the communications link all worked..TATA seem to be nailing it! Here’s to the submarines and the digital age 🙂 I can not help but feel that some of those VT guys in the UK would have loved to still be travelling the world.. at least they get to see there kids grow up hey.

Steve (F1 Fan)

2

I was a sound mixer, did sports remote and can tell you that nothing beats being on scene. You miss a lot by not being there.

3

If I understand the article correctly, this is not really something new. NHL for example has there “control center” in Toronto where they watch every game that is in progress, with goalcamera referees etc all i

one place.

So while very cool, not that innovative really. Well right it is innovative for F1, which most of the times feels like they are years behind other major sports. Bernie (FOM) is unfortunately too concerned about getting more green in their pockets than making the sport grow more huge and giving fans the enjoyment they deserve. As if they didn’t have enough already? 😛

4

May I just say what a comfort to discover someone

who actually understands what they’re discussing over the internet.

You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make itt important.

A lot more people need to read this and understand this side of your

story. I can’t believe you’re not moe popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

5

Greɑt article, totally hat І աanted to find.

6

I have the fastest Apple iMac on the planet, yet Im unable to view video’s race edits?? My internet runs at 23.5 Mbps WHY Mr.Morrison?

7

You are so interesting! I do not believe I’ve trruly read through a single thing like this before.

So nice to find another person with a few genuine thoughts on thjis subject.

Really.. thank for starting this up. Thhis website is something

that’s needed on the internet, someone wwith a bit of originality!

8

Why users still use to read news papers when in this technological world all is existing on

net?

9

I’ve always used a pair of regular oven mitts or a dish

towel to remove the hot baked items from my oven. This article is not about saving tons of

money on electrical energy or about transforming normal everyday boring food into

gourmet gastronomical delights, it is more

about dehydrating food with the inexhaustible energy source of

the sun while using a solar sun oven. Keeps food moist –

The sealed bowl ensures that those healthy and flavour enhancing aromas stay within your food.

10

Fantastic, looking at this report got me to understand new stuff!

11

quite exciting. i had a good read right here. thanks to the information

12

Can you tell us more about this? I’d care

to find out some additional information.

13

hey f1 tv. How about fixing the microphones to pick up the new quieter cars better. maybe you should have done it last month.

14

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I bookmarked it.

15

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although often it feels they are all in hiding. May possibly the cross your route typically!

Thanks for commenting

16

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eye catching articles or reviews. Ever produce articles for other individuals?

I could possibly pay you for your work (by the hour, per article,

.etc).

17

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it’s fastidious articles

18

If you wish for to grow your experience simply keep visiting this website and be updated with the newest information posted here.

19

I 2nd the knowing what it feels prefer to have a small person kicking in the inside.

20

What about race control? Don’t they need the same video as the tv producers at remote operations?

21

Nice article…

Wishlist:

Less cutaways to celebrities

Reduce the overwhelming and repetitive start replays

Less long distance shots (makes the cars look slow)

Better and more insightful live timing

22

I think F1 coverage is almost perfect. What would be prefect would be if we could select any team radio channel(s) uncensored and listen to them in real time online as we watch the race. I would happy pay €50 a year for this

23

Amazing how technology works. Let’s see how it pans out.

Don’t want too many small boxes of info which might distract from viewing the race itself.

24

Wow! I’ve always wondered exactly how this works. Thanks for this fantastic insight!

25

James, this is rather off-topic but while we’re in the lull before the season, I wonder if you could do an article regarding Driver Weight. Why does the FIA have a regulation limiting weight of Car AND Driver (if I’m correct in this?) which discriminates against larger drivers. Surely it would be better simply to regulate the car weight, since surely that’s what they were originally targeting, then let the teams decide if they have to select a smaller driver just to compensate for the weight of that extra gadget they had to add. I can imagine in 2050, looking back at old archive footage from around 2014 onwards, of small F1 drivers walking around, looking like horse jockeys.

Perhaps Ricky Gervais should write a new series of Life’s Too Short with Warwich Davis managing a new breed of dwarf F1 drivers?

26

The philisophical question is, “should a driver have an advantage because of their small stature/weight?”

If you answer yes, then the inevitable outcome is that drivers will become smaller and smaller, much like the Jockey.

For me the answer is No! I would have a minimum car weight (before ballast) and a minimum driver weight (I.e. 75kgs or whatever is deemed appropriate), then add ballast for the smaller driver.

27

Doesn’t this penalise a heavy driver (one over 75kg) even more? At least with the current minimum car+driver weight, there is the possibility of lightening the car to get down to the combined minimum weight, which is lost if you’ve also set a minimum weight for the car alone.

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