Competition: Your chance to get your ideas into the world of F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Jul 2014   |  4:51 pm GMT  |  92 comments

Formula 1 is running a major new initiative this year called the F1 Connectivity Innovation prize to crowdsource ideas for some real world situations and the first of the three challenges has been announced today.

The competition, backed by Tata Communications, Formula One Management and Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, is looking is to encourage F1 fans who want to get closer to the sport and engage in some behind the scenes real world F1 issues. The ultimate prize is a cash award of $50,000 and there are further prizes, which will see the winners go behind the scenes at next year’s Monaco Grands Prix.

Darren Heath

The second challenge will be announced before the Italian GP in September and the third before the US Grand Prix in November.

The first challenge, announced today, is to demonstrate new and insightful information that can be derived from Formula One Management’s live data feeds – including the timing pages – and to propose how this new information could be visually packaged in order to add suspense and excitement to the audience experience.


As we have a very tech savvy audience here on JA on F1, no doubt a number of readers will want to get involved. Check out all the details and the T&Cs of the competition on the official website

According to the organisers, the intention is “to inspire entrants to creatively apply analytical and information technology solutions to enhance entertainment and insight into the sport. The challenge provides the scope for entrants to not only define the data form, but also visualise it for application in any form, ranging from TV graphics to an additional data page to complement the information that is currently presented by Formula One Management to F1® teams, the media, guests of the Formula One Paddock Club and the consumers via and the Official F1 app. ”

The judging panel, comprises FOM’s Chief Technical Officer, John Morrison, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Executive Director (Technical), Paddy Lowe; Tata Communications’ Managing Director of F1 Business, Mehul Kapadia and F1 commentator Martin Brundle.

The challenge will require entrants to demonstrate both their creative flair and technical knowledge in their submission and provide a compelling vision.

User guidelines

Formula One Management’s timing information screens introduced in the
early 80s were initially exclusively available at trackside and fed to officials
and team personnel via a radio frequency distribution system. With the
advent of newer technologies, the distribution of the timing information has
become far more extensive being available in data form to the F1 teams and
broadcasters, and more recently, via and the Official F1 App.

The Formula One Management Data Screen Challenge is to propose what
new and insightful information can be derived from the sample data set
provided and, as a second element to the challenge, show how this insight
can be delivered visually to add suspense and excitement to the audience

The display parameters for your proposals should span traditional rendering
through a web browser interface with additional consideration to format
information design for use in tablet application.
Proposals should address the following six key criteria that will provide the
basis for the judges’ decision-making:-

1. Innovation & Creativity
Judges will give clear preference to submissions that clearly show
innovative thought and creative application. Innovation will be particularly
considered in instances where new technical solutions are proposed;
evaluation of creativity will be less reliant on new solutions but rather on
the adaptation and reformatting of existing solutions to provide a new user

2. Technical Content
The technical dimension of your submission should demonstrate a clear
understanding of the technical architecture required to deliver the proposed
solution. While only headline detail is required, applications should
reference any proprietary technologies used and outline the function and
specification of any bespoke development

3. Quality of material and input
Due regard will be given to the quality of each submission, the clarity and
presentation of concepts and the degree to which objectives are clearly
stated and met in both written and visual materials. In addition, evidence of
underlying research to validate concepts will also be rewarded

4. Originality of solution
One of the key criteria for the F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize is
to demonstrate original thought that has the potential to deliver a
transformative experience for the sport’s audiences. This is the single
most important criterion in the evaluation of your submission and an explicit
statement of originality is strongly encouraged

5. Feasibility of solution
Judges will make a viability assessment of each submission and applicants
are encouraged to clearly outline the feasibility case from a technical
perspective for their concept (no statement of financial viability is required)

6. Understanding of the challenge and proposed solution
Conformity to the brief is essential and applicants are reminded that any
content that falls outside of the stipulated challenge requirements cannot be
The current visual format for the timing screen is shown below

The sample dataset provided by Formula One Management includes
Practice 1, Qualifying and race data, and contains the following elements:

– Position
– Car number
– Driver’s name
– Fastest lap time
– Gap to the leader’s fastest lap time
– Sector 1 time for the current lap
– Sector 2 time for the current lap
– Sector 3 time for the current lap
– Number of laps

Submissions must exclusively be based on these parameters using the
sample dataset provided on the Official Website.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

If you want to draw in and then keep the fans interested, the solution is very simple. Edit out the lame sound produced by the current engines. Insert the sound from last year or pretty much any other year of F1.

F1 excitement= screaming cars, all out and tight racing, emphasis on racing and cars….not electronics and computer technology.


@JA you should plant the idea of turning the DRS rules around. DRS should be available if you are further apart than 1 second bringing the cars much closer but not making overtaking so damn easy.


Here goes again…

I will supply some ideas I have on timing screens once I get my $50k for coming up with the penalty points system. Here is my idea as of 31 July 2012, months before there was any mention of penalty points in the F1 press:

Notice any similarities to the currently employed system?

I say to everyone: Beware of giving away ideas on F1 forums, because you might not get back much from F1. Of course, that might make the forums a little banal, but we’ll just have to deal with that.

This is my third attempt at posting this. I’ll come back in 24 hours to see whether it’s been posted.

James, perhaps you can put in a word for me with the relevant authorities this weekend? I’d like my money. Thanks.


What you propose is too harsh for some things and too soft for others.

Antonio Carlos

So, Why F1 increased your popularity since the 70’s?

– Drivers’ personalities? We had Hunt, Peterson, Lauda, Fittipaldi, Piquet, Jones, Reutemann, Mansell, Senna, Schumacher… Outspoken, controversal, magnetic…

-Tracks? Monza, Old Hockenheim, Spa, Suzuka, Old Jacarepaguá, Old Interlagos… Tracks who challenges and also entertain the drivers themselves.

-Teams? McLaren, Ferrari, Williams, Lotus, Brabham, Tyrell, Benetton… Only The first three teams still remaining.

– Open rules and regulations? We had fantastic cars on those years: 70’s Lotus, 80’s Brabhams, 88’McLarens, 92’Williams, 2000’s Ferraris…

-Clear regulations? We knew the rules and simply the best driver (or car) have won the races.

-TV feed? Local Networks, with few exceptions, have done a good job, each one on your purpose.

-Quality of the races? Well, this is an very old discussion… We had excellent, good, and bad races after all these years…

Take these opinions, and freeze into the start of 2000’s.

What we have now?

-We have what I call “fake plastic drivers”, everyone saying the same amount of bullshit;

– Tracks identically boring for both drivers and viewers; Very few challenging; And in addition Bernie switching tracks by $$$ reasons;

-Defunct teams every year, switching owners like an American sports franchise – No stability on the sport;

-Rules changing every year, turning difficult the understanding;

-FOM’S TV feed getting worse and worse every year;

-DRS, KERS, ERS and other stuff feeding artificially overtaking;

-Teams are bankrupting every year; no FOM support for them;

-No social networks; No respect or consideration for your loyal or hardcore fans all those years; FOM only cares about the rich people who can pay for your “Paddock Club” Seats; No plans to attract newer audiences.

Sorry for the long post, I’m 33, from Brazil (sorry for some typed-english errors, I promise correct them), I watch F1 since 1986 (I have no memories about the World Cup on that year; Motor Racing was my first passion at first sight) and 10 years from now I’m witnessing an decline of the sport that I previously cared about.

So, Is crucial that FOM and teams understand and try to solve the problems.


Fancy timing screens is not the answer to dwindling viewers. The loss of FTA broadcasting is the major stumbling block, but that seems to be the elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss. Luckily however, I live in Australia where it is still free to watch F1.

The real problem is not that people are not watching F1, it’s that people are not PAYING to watch F1. Make it free for all and stop clutching at straws.


F1 is sold to the fans on personalities.This is in sharp contrast to Le Mans. Two years ago I wrote to advise F1 to reach out to often the younger fans via new media,data feeds, or team websites. Since the exit of real time full coverage of the BBC of the sport, the fan base has contracted in Europe with the associated withdraw of interest from would be fans,sponsors and circuits.the live blood of F1.The BBC decision in my view restricted the development of F1 since.

A more frightening cloud is moving towards F1 that is the failure to recruit and maintain new professional business managers to the sport to spawn innovation.. Long gone are the days of x racing drivers or have a go to much Henry’s to run the business side of the sport.

I will take some comfort from the implementation of my ideas even if it took two years.The initiatives for broadcasting in the UK for this millennium should include the inclusion of disabled and faculty impaired presenters.F1 seems to not reflect disability in any part of this sport. The FIA needs to start sponsoring suitable long term unemployed disabled people with the help of government and EU cash.


Sorry, but this just looks like unpaid software development. Get unpaid input from thousands in return for modest payments to a, very, few.



50K would be a sensible prize if they asked for a paper prototype. They actually want some code behind it to demo it? That’s not a prize, but being a contractor for the FIA, for something that is very far from the going rate, and you only get paid if you win!

Try again with another zero.


A radio blog to fans would be good during races. Pick the top 5 most popular drivers (determined somehow) and they then radio in what is happening to fans. Given it is in the heat of battle they may radio in some interesting content. This would be welcomed compared to the robotic responses garnered during the press conferences. We know the drivers are capable of multitasking – let’s do it


Changing the cars for this year has been fantasic! You can see the drivers driving style and its like watching guys race karts. More tourque and less downforce would be fantasic!


Bring back V12s, private teams and shift bias towards mechanical opposed aerodynamic grip. All you’ll then need for the timing screens is some bloke holding an analogue stopwatch.


The limited thinking that limits the available data set IS the problem.

With a couple hundred sensors on the car all we have to work with are sector times?

Forget it, not worth the while spending any braincells on it.


The thing to remember is that these timing screens started out exclusively for the teams use, Then the commentators got them & when the F1 digital pay tv service began in 1997 the fans got access to it & thats now also moved to the website & mobile apps.

Because the timing screens were originally designed to get the data to the teams the general layout & data displayed has remained the same since at least 1997 (When I started at FOM)

1997 –

2014 –

Right now the timing screens & data are very basic again because it was all built initially purely for the teams use, Its hoped that they can find a new format which maintains what the teams & everyone else who uses them in F1 wants/needs while making them more accessible with more data there for the fans.

Remember though that as I said the main purpose of the timing screen is to give that data to the teams, The data given & the layout was designed around what data the teams needed & how they would prefer it to be presented.

As such it was always kept the same because the teams still want/need the same data & the layout is still based around that.

As I said the timing screens were accessible to the fans trhough the digital pay tv platform from 1997-2002 but when that service closed the timing screens were again only available to those in the F1 paddock. Its only been the past 3-4 years that FOM have started sending it out to broadcasters again as part of the additional content package of video feeds.


Stuff like this seems to happen rather often with little result.


am I seeing double or has this page been duplicated?


It’s you seeing double 🙂


i need to book an appointment at spec savers asap.


What are they thinking, asking fans what they would like to see? Why not just gather the F1 Strategy Group and dream up another ‘solution’ that no right-thinking person actually wants?


personally i think they should follow the lead of V8 Supercars app and have picture of track with gps added to show cars going around in real time with color changes for pit entry and exit as most teams do as is shown thru the coverage of engineers at pit wall . Most of what i see on app is fine but the only thing missing is where they are on track at any one time. Different colors for different drivers which they themselves can have a say in or bid for if you like so we can distinguish who they are when in a bunch…

that way you can watch from afar or click on particular driver and watch his own lap times exclusively if you wish.


You can get all that on the live timing app… It only costs $10 this year ( down from $30 last year)

And really it’s the part of the app I use the least – the split times / sector times and tyre info (inc number of laps each set has done) make it exciting for me.

I see no need for change.


Agree that you can get these features from the app. But maybe you should look at the agreement and the permissions that the app demands. Then work out how much privacy your extra info is worth.


Competitions and the ilk are all very good but what about just a little nostalgia here – give us back last year’s timing screen.

telling the truth here, for the first time ever I fell asleep during hat Austrian race because frankly, I was bored. I had no insight to the lesser mentioned drivers except for some coloured balls and no pitstop times and no sector times and no weather and no lap charts and yet you tell bernie really wants us here.

Give me a break. He wants me to send my wallet by airmail and I can just do whatever.

Am looking at Sunday and thinking if there is no change, and aint no timing ala 2013, I might just bath the dog instead!


How to fix F1…

1) Get rid of Bernie, he has helped to build the sport up but is now incapable of running it into the future. The sport deserves more than a money hungry mogul.

2) Get a decent and fair form of governance for the sport put in place. ALL teams need an even say.

3) Even out the financial rewards from top to bottom.

4) Re-work the points system, points should be awarded for everyone that finishes (this would make the competition more exciting all the way up and down the grid. It would be fairer on the bottom teams as consistency would be rewarded rather than just one “fluky” good result in a season. (This is also the same logic as to why the double points finish is such a bad idea).

5) Put in a cost cap through regulations… it is the only way it can work.

6) Better (more grip) tyres,,, will allow for more mechanical grip and rely less on aero.

7) Ease up on the car regulations to allow more innovation.

8) Get rid of the fuel flow sensor.

9) Lower the price of tickets.

10) Open up the coverage, sponsors keep the sport alive and want exposure… so give it to them!

12) ALL teams should be putting the best driver they can get in seat, not the “driver” who can bring the most money…. this is meant to be the pinnacle of motor sport so we should have the best drivers in the world competing.

13) Limit car upgrade packages to just 3 times a year (basically putting the cars into parc ferme).

There we go… F1 is now fixed (if only it was that easy) All the above would result in closer more exciting racing that is fair for all teams and viewed by more people.

On a side note: can anyone explain to me why there is an engine freeze during the season???

What we have now was expected… one team (and engine) are head and shoulders above the rest, who are now effectively not allowed to even try and catch up.

Dimitar Kadrinski

[mod] your points 1 and 2 are exact as I would have put them and in the exact same order 🙂
3 – this I am sure I will not have to explain why
4 – not a bad idea, but if you allow every car finishing a race to win a points, then you get teams that will enter just for the profit (small outfit, not investing in the car at all, just make it so it runs 350km race and win points, and money if point 3 you proposed is accepted). It would be nice however if the points are run through to the first 15 cars maybe…
5 – impossible. Teams will put all the moneys they can into the one area which is open for development and you have the same situation. Again if your point 2 is achieved then the sport regulators can put in place a system by which the team have to obey, i.e. cost cap to named amount of money AND run your team in a way which can be policed! (and not like now , every team is run on a different structure)
6 – more grip is more grip, it has nothing to do with following a car or making the races more enjoyable – exactly the opposite (just go back a few years)
7- that can only work if a cost cap is in place.
8- very bad idea. Mostly concerned with safety. A lot of articles out there for you to read about fuel flow sensor in F1 and why it is there.
9 – I can only hope this is going to happen one day.. first step in this direction, get rid of Bernie.
10 – same as the above:)
12 – hopefully with a cost cap that can happen, but mind you that even now, the drivers who “pay” for their seat are not at all bad. If anyone wants to get to drive F1 car, they need to have a rich family and good sponsors no matter what, and it will stay that way for loooong time.
13 – This is actually very good point, and some of the smaller teams were pushing for something similar (upgrades should not be allowed during the GP weekend at least)

Now the engines. Again plenty of articles around. The only reason we end up in a situation like this is that Renault and Ferrari refused to accept this V6 era will ever come to light, or were too complacent not to bother starting R&D their engines at the appropriate time (or were hoping that they can influence the people with power to change this and stay on the V8’s for a couple of more years…). Mercedes however started over a year if not two, before the rest, so the end result is there. It is the same with the chassis – imagine RB did not start work on next year car before the end of current season and only allowed a month or two of development before the first test (even with more or less stable regulations for next year)…. they will be dead last. And if they allowed the engines to be developed during the season, then the price of an engine would have gone up by so much, that half of the grid would not be able to purchase one and compete!


Engine freeze is due to cost.


I agree with most of your points apart from 8 and 13 (4 I am unsure about) but the general thrust of your post I think is spot on.

The reason the engine freeze was bought in to place was to try and keep the cost of the engines down and stop one really rich team from spending more through out the season and causing the less well off teams to go bankrupt or not be able to afford the upgraded engine. It is a shame that Renault and Ferrari are so far behind but they had just as much time to do as good a job as Mercedes but that is the way the cookie crumbles… There are still areas of the PU that can be developed such as certain components in the ERS


The engine freeze is not saving much at present as renault and ferrari are working to duclicate mercedes PU for next year while at the same time trying to improve on this seasons failed attempts. Would be cheaper to put their new parts on this years car and develop as they go.


the team with the best ennovation will run away with the championship.


Anyone who genuinely wants to change F1 has to balance the genuine financial investment needed in the sport-it is, and should be, the PINNACLE…with the wishes of those who “consume” it.

It’s easy, really. Just spend some time looking at forums such as this. Then use some imagination to consider if you will sell more cars and advertising because the sport is revered and loved by millions on TV and those hundreds of thousands who attend the races.



If you’d only tried a little harder you could have had your own mod squad 😉


“propose how this new information could be visually packaged in order to add suspense and excitement to the audience experience”

Easy: Package the everything into a system that is slow to load and display the data (that will add the suspense) and then the user will be so excited when it’s finally finished loading and they can actually use it that they’ll be jumping up and down with joy 😀

Really, come on. I know a lot of you use these things while you’re watching the race to help you keep track of the car positions, pit stops, et cetera and that’s cool, but how many of you sit there thinking “wow, using this is really exciting!”?

It’s just a tool, another way of watching the race. If the race itself can’t provide suspense and excitement then what’s the point?


i hope you are not one of those who will say “why didn’t I think of that” when the winning entries are announced.


I hope that too 🙂


They could start by restoring the Live Timing sector times they took away from PC users this season.


Duncan Snowden

Yep. Plus what Brent says above about the permissions on the mobile app. I don’t go out of my way to use Free software that respects my rights only to sign my life away to Bernie in order to get sector times and weather reports on the 10 races I can still watch live. If FOM thinks removing functionality from the web app is going to “nudge” me towards the ridiculous mobile one, it has another think coming. I’d rather do without.

Every year, the coverage of Le Mans gets better and better. Why is F1’s getting worse?


James, I don’t use the live timing anymore. The timing screens I get this year on my laptop are useless. I can get the proper timing on my phone, if I registered, but the permissions you grant to FOM in doing so are ridiculous. The way I read the agreement (I’m not a lawyer) is the FOM can do pretty much anything they want with the data in your phone and any of the secure data they can’t see, they are allowed to try and hack.

A spending cap would improve the racing more than anything. Speed costs money. If all the teams budgets were between 100 and 150 million dollars the racing would be closer with more teams capable of winning. Chassis design rules could be relaxed and innovation would return.


I am sure that they have read some brilliant ideas on pages like this. this is why they want to pay who can come up with ideas to improve an already very good show. nothing wrong with that.

your idea of allowing innovation will only make things worst in terms of one team always having the advantage. one way to improve the chances of anyone winning is to have identical cars with identical driving skills. is that possible?


“one way to improve the chances of anyone winning is to have identical cars with identical driving skills. is that possible?”

Formula Ford.


are you sure? do all the drivers win in formula ford? formula ford is not a one-make championship. It allows freedom of chassis design, engine build and numerous technical items of specification on the car. this opens the door to many chassis manufacturers, large and small. many other single-seater formulae impose fixed specifications. only two other professional single seater racing formulae in the world offer the same freedom of chassis and engine build: formula three and formula one.


A very simple suggestion re the timing screen

– Names column could go in the centre, with laptimes and gap on the left and sector times to the right of each name. That would make it easier to plot all the data for any one driver at a time.

Another, even simpler

– please employ better graphic designers who can make the same size of font look much clearer and easier to read. There are many good such designers around though not as good as some years ago.


I will put up a prize of 50,000 Dongs to anybody that can make a clear and easily understandable chart for your post-race analysis… With the phantom driving his car at the average speed of the race winner.. Aahh! It’s all too much for my brain!


The way Formula 1 presents it’s data really is the least of it’s problems lol.


as is what it does with its data and how it chooses to use it.


Obviously I’m missing the point. The way I read it is that the challenge is to present “only” the various data:

– Position

– Car number

– Driver’s name

– Fastest lap time

– Gap to the leader’s fastest lap time

– Sector 1 time for the current lap

– Sector 2 time for the current lap

– Sector 3 time for the current lap

– Number of laps

with a different look to the present format as shown in the image above?

If that’s the case then I vote to leave it as is. The data as shown is very informative and paints an easy to understand picture.

Please tell me what I’m (obviously) missing.

I know that the word ‘obviously’ should only be spoken by a F1 driver during an interview but it seems right to use it here. I couldn’t get ‘mega’ into the post unfortunately.


I came to the same conclusion about this one. The basic idea is to redesign the data screen, but not change any of the data that is displayed.

“Submissions must exclusively be based on these parameters using the sample dataset provided on the Official Website.”

In order to improve this they’ve got to do more than change the look/colours of what is the same data. Sure you can perhaps use the data above to create something else that’s interesting, like theoretical best lap, but that’s outside of the rules, I had a good look at the PDF to check!

On that basis I didn’t bother entering because the rules are incredibly restrictive, and if we’re going to continue to display this same data (and nothing more) then at best we’re talking about a competition about who can make tabular data aesthetically pleasing – and to be honest there is nothing that inventive about that really.

Hopefully competition two or three will be a little more interesting!


Since I’m also not “eligible” I’ll provide some spoilers….

Even with just these basic pieces of information you can do some interesting calculations, just adding the 3 fastest individual sectors of a driver gives you a theoretical fastest lap. Collecting a series of lap-times when they do a tyre run is one aspect but if you let the user add the expected fuel use per lap and the expected fuel weight penalty you can get more insight in the real tyre deg by doing a simple calculation.

If you look into the actual protocol file it is very optimized to display a screen of laptimes, it is not a complete record of actual cars passing actual control lines, so part of any solution should be a redesign of this protocol to get something smarter but still allow for unstable connections and minimal server load.

But when you make the assumption the message timestamp is closely related the actual time the car passed the timing line you can easily calculate the distance between 2 drivers and understand why a specific lap may not be representative of actual performance. When you have those distances between drivers you can create the screen that the teams use to see where you enter the traffic after a pit-stop and if an undercut could work. Seeing if you can make better strategic decisions as the teams is half the fun of watching the timing screens. Yes GPS would add more actual detail and precision but you would need a lot more bandwidth to send all the data. When you have the 3 sector times and the track information with expected corner and top speeds you can estimate position on track and generate an animation.

Another aspect is converting the time into percentages of the fastest lap (the one’s JA provides after the race) to understand tyre deg but also getting an understanding if how the cars evolve through the season, not just at a single race.

What we probably really need is a team “0” at every race that has the same facilities as the other teams but collects data for the community, and a few open source projects to visualize the information throw in some social media channels and you create a great following in no time.


wait until you see the winning entry, you will understand why it’s worth running such a competition. if it was that obvious, they would’ve done it themselves. some people spray chemicals to kill dust mites, others use special paint while some others use their vacuum cleaner. who has the better solution?


You also forgot “surely” and “for sure”…

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