Winners of F1 crowdsourcing competition set for behind the scenes Monaco GP experience
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Aug 2014   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  18 comments

The two winners, announced today of the first Challenge in the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, will be jetting off to the Monaco Grand Prix next season and will also qualify for the shortlist of 6 winners leading up to the Grand Prize of US $50,000.

The F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize is a crowdsourcing initiative organised jointly by Tata Communications, Formula One Management and MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, offering fans and the public the chance to engage behind the scenes and find solutions to real world problems in the sport.

There are three Challenges and Challenge 1 centred around the F1 Data Screen.

Entrants were asked 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.

The judging panel – comprising 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 – were faced with a large entry from teams and individuals around the world.


The winning entries were:

Individual entrant Chris Thelwell, UK

Chris’ solution to the Challenge was to make real-time data accessible to all by creating a new open-source data humanisation service that brings the data to life.

The solution proposes taking an XML feed from the F1 data set and comparing it to historical data to generate a human story angle from the findings. It does this by identifying significant events using logic statements, creating a new text based story from a set of event templates and translating them into multiple languages. It then attaches meta data to each story and ranks them using a set of pre-set metrics, before delivering a feed via a RESTful API. Services then collect the API and disseminate the story via their own channels.

One particularly interesting element of this solution was the ability of the system to feed into not only mobile devices for fans, but wearable technology for track-side technical and engineering staff and audible screen reading technology used by blind and partially sighted fans.

Darren Heath

Team Winner 2: Ben Lambert, Will Horner-Glister, Mike Albers & Fabian Birgfeld

The team, headed by Ben, suggested segmenting consumption of the F1 data set by user group, defining these as ‘The Team’, ‘The Enthusiasts’ and ‘The Fans’.

The Team, i.e. engineers/team personnel, officials and technical suppliers at the race track would essentially receive the same data feed however it would be enhanced for readability and user-control. Ben’s team suggested doing this by using the typeface adopted by Boeing EICAS displays, which has passed numerous studies into legibility in high stress situations. They also suggested timeline-based graphics that can be extrapolated, such as mean or historic sector time, to add context and create relevance. The feed would be delivered over an API and web-based technology to give engineers a simple but effective control of the display.

For The Enthusiasts, i.e. hardcore fans who consume every single session via multi-screening to extract as much information as possible, Ben’s team proposed the invention of a new timing device in the form of a circular graphic. This would form part of an overhaul of the data representation, brought to life in a fully-interactive and responsive digital ecosystem that is personalised based on the team-support won by The Enthusiast and their individual consumption needs.

The Fans are those that watch Qualifying on a Saturday, the race on a Sunday and take an active interest in what’s happening on track with marginal requirement to consume data. Ben’s team proposed a simplified version of the digital ecosystem that overlays key data streams onto technology that incorporates view-selection for the camera feed and operates on mobile devices and connected televisions. They highlighted this with some beautifully clean and simple visuals.

Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of F1 Business at Tata Communications said: “We are incredibly pleased with the wide ranging responses from across the globe and so impressed with the quality of the entries we received for this first challenge, which gave creative minds an opportunity to apply their passion and imagination in the quest to bring innovation and bold thinking to Formula One Management’s data screen challenge. Judging was a challenge in itself, but ultimately, both the winning entries stood out for the way they pushed the boundaries of technology and design innovation in this fast-paced sport.

“Congratulations to Chris and Ben, Will, Mike and Fabian and a tremendous thank you to all the F1 fans who took the time to submit an entry. We look forward to the next two challenges, with the second one going live on 3 September.”

Don’t forget that you still have chance of winning the Grand Prize AND a trip to the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, by entering Challenge 2 (launches 3rd September 2014) or Challenge 3 (29th October 2014)

Keep an eye on the Official Website for updates as well as @tata_comm or #tatacommsf1prize.

Register here for updates on the upcoming challenges F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize

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“new circular graphic”

Like you see on many team pit displays ? And was on the excellent before FOM decided to start sue’ing F1 fans ?


Chris Thelwell’s idea sounds like it could put commentators out of work 🙂 Not just in F1 either! Trotting out obscure statistics is a staple throughout the world of sports commentary. John Motson would be quaking in his sheepskin if someone had come up with this a few years ago.


When Chris Thelwell’s program starts coming up with useless rubbish like “Alexander Sims becomes only the fourteenth driver to enter a Formula 1 race with a surname none of whose letters can be coloured in either in upper or lower case. But can he become the fifth such driver to win the world championship?” …then truly we will have reached the singularity.


Ecosystem …huh?


the data and it’s production?


James, could you please explain a little more how these work. I have read and re-read the 1st idea about 20 times and I still cant figure out what it is?? It would be great if you could provide some examples because i have absolutely no idea what is in it as a fan. Thanks


20 times? you are so patient.


Phew – it’s not just me then. I couldn’t really see anything in the text that would make me go “Yes – THAT’S what I’ve been missing all these years”. Perhaps there was something but I just couldn’t understand it in the way they described it. I see the team entry was backed up with some graphics that we have not been privvy to but my major concern is that the focus should be on how to make the on-track action exciting and captivating. If the excitement comes from the bells and whistles they try to manufacture from raw data then this is no longer the sport for me.

I will confess to being a huge sceptic for the current engine/fuel/tyre formula and this was reinforced by my attendance at Melbourne. However, I will concede that there have been some very exciting races brought about by weather and reliability issues and penalties forcing some key players out of position on the grid. Hamilton’s drive from pit lane to podium in Hungary was stellar. Ricciardo’s driving and overtaking is a real highlight. However, when the weather is stable and there are no reliability issues in qualifying, the grid is reasonably predictable now (depending on whether or not Williams pull it together in quali) and the racing fairly processional. Flashing data gizmos might do it (replace the lost on-track action) for the game-consol addicts but it wouldn’t cut it for me.


Although I have not seen it in action (has anyone outside FOM?), I think the gist of the idea is to take what the live timing is outputting and then compare that to historical / statistical data, and then from that, make some judgement about the current on-track activity. e.g. if Sebastian Vettel has lead the race for the last 10 laps, the algorithm can look into historical data and see the last time Sebastian Vettel lead the race for 10 laps. It can also look to hisrtorical data and derive information such as: last time his lead was between 5-7 seconds for the 10-lap period, but in this race his lead is 6-9 seconds, and given the condition of the circuit at the time versus that time previously, make a statement about why his lead may be greater than last time.

All of this information is then processed by natural language processors and turned into human-readable script which can be printed on computers, TVs, smartphones and anything else with a screen and an internet connection.


I assumed this was already being done, tbh, given the number of times you hear truely odd stats being reported during sporting events.


I must be missing something – these ideas seem very mundane and I may be in a minority, but wouldn’t have any interest in their output. Idea 1 = robotic commentary? Idea 2 = different displays for different levels of fans?



For instance, you could easily improve the live race display by including more information on each row. There’s tons of room for :
* graphics of each tyre type used
* three stacked arrows to indicating gain or loss to the car in front in the last three laps. Could color code them for rate too…

Did I mentioned redoing it without Java ?


You’re not alone Paul. Their goal is probably to get (younger) fans engaged just by taking part in the competition, and not by actually applying what comes out of it.


Yup I’d agree with that.

Having read the rules in some detail, they were incredibly restrictive, stating that you could only use the data set given and the challenge was to display it , so I’m surprised the individual winners entry was allowed. I can’t see it taking off really, not when so many media outlets tweet the race action, and the major news networks often have live feeds in text form on their website.

The team entry is far more what I think the rules of the comp were aiming for. Not that you can do a great deal without manipulation of the data, which the rules suggested wasn’t possible (they weren’t well written).

Maybe they’ll write better rules for comp 2.


i read the rules and didn’t see any such restriction manipulation of the data. they are still available on this site.


It all sounds very good but what about improving what they currently have now for the fan. I, like many, have been ‘forced’ into buying the live timing app because FOM have deleted the sector times from the free desktop application.

The F1 app leaves a bit to be desired, plenty of screens, most of which give you the same information.


only if they told you what you were about to buy before you bought it.


sounds very clever but it would be interesting to see them action.

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