Let me just say up front, I think what Tata, Formula 1 and Mercedes are doing with the F1 Innovation awards is great and I am sure they have had good submissions and ideas. Good on them and I am sure the new one announced today will be no different.
Having said that, it’s one of the crowdsourcing things I find interesting in that you’re given a list of tools at your disposal and you are supposed to come up with the next big thing in fan engagement. This year’s program is all about bringing MyF1 to life. How to make the next great thing in F1 that appeals to “armchair fans to AR addicts”.
Your toolbox is as follows:
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Driver & team stats from previous races at
any particular circuit, including:
*Gear changes per lap
*Lap time and distance at full throttle
*Lap times and results
*Car telemetry, including:
*Throttle Pedal Position
*Brake Pressure Pedal
*Gear selection and RPM
*DRS availability and usage
*Weekend tyre allocation
*Live-time pit crew biometric data during
Ideas to join the team away from the track,
*Driver & team’s weekend music playlist
*Driver & team’s pre-race preparation –
includes schedules & engineering times
*Driver & team’s social media streams
*Live broadcast feeds
*Live timing information
*Live publishing platform
*Live audio streams
*Real-time audience data
*Social media aggregation tools
*Real time commenting platform
*The complete archive of Formula 1 race coverage
*The complete Formula 1 stats archive
I have to think that this is geared to young folks who have plenty of time to ideate and brainstorm on concepts and put together an app, a social media idea, a F1 TV concept or other things involving code, algorithms and other very interesting things. I would imagine some will be thinking hard how the gamification of F1 and how we can get these “young people” and their mobile devices engaged. How F1 can make a more immersive product.
All of that’s perfectly fine but there are lots of folks that have already created platforms, communities and content that is driving the fanbase of F1. I wish I had time to do a complete business proposal for F1’s My F1 product but I don’t…I’m too busy with my day job and what time I have left, making F1 podcasts and content for a large community of fans. I’m am not alone, there are many who do the same.
If you have time, you too can enter the program and create F1’s next big thing. What I would say that is missing from the provided toolbox is this:
For over five decades, F1 has captured the attention, passion and imagination of young people through a host of emerging technologies and mediums. In the early days of actual race attendance to print, to radio to TV to color TV to cinema, to digital, to streaming to continuous fan engagement via social media and YouTube. A string of mediums but through it all, the fan was engaged by the racing.
The social media and streaming content tools are great but what’s missing is how we actually make the racing better. I don’t want to be a curmudgeon here but gamifying the experience, making a new app or some AR system is fine if you like that sort of thing. The fact is, advanced car technology has passed F1 by and while F1 can still contribute to it, it isn’t the sole vehicle for road relevance, so we should perhaps stop insisting we are. I’d argue starting with a toolbox of:
- Reduction of aerodynamic downforce designed to prevent cars from following
- Unlimited Fuel flow and possibly refueling (It could be dangerous…so is the Isle of Man TT but we call them courageous and people attend that race to see the courage)
- Three tire suppliers making the best tires they can…tired of tires being all we talk about
- Limited restrictions on power units and ditch hybrids with engine options to allow for new teams to join and be competitive
- Removal of DRS
- New ground effects concepts or possible active suspension
- Standardized front wing and brakes
- Make cars more difficult to drive
You wouldn’t have to pick all of these but perhaps these are starting point. I’m all for getting young folks engaged with MyF1 to see how they can innovate but for me, the biggest innovation is not in the area of exploiting fans apps, social media or other things, it is innovating on track and how F1 can improve its product, not the manner in which people engage with its product.
Hat Tip: F1
Liberty seems to be of the mindset that if they build a really cool app and a really cool website and show the celebrities during the races they’ll pull in the young and hip set who will then get into the racing. It doesn’t work that way. It’s NEVER going to work that way. The audience is race fans. The audience will ALWAYS be race fans. Fix the RACING, you’ll get people who are FANS and those fans will engage with whatever media is at hand. They are putting the cart way out in front of the horse.