HomeBroadcastFormula One Wrap: Sprint Races, Amazon, HDR, And More

Formula One Wrap: Sprint Races, Amazon, HDR, And More

McLaren Racing Formula 1

Formula One Wrap: Sprint Races, Amazon, HDR, And More

Formula One (F1) pre-season testing has finished in Bahrain, with teams obtaining important performance data for the upcoming season.

It has been a busy period off the track as well, with major sponsorship, broadcast, and logistical deals being finalised.

Silverstone to host sprint race

Silverstone has been selected as one of the three tracks to host one of this year’s new sprint races.

The sprint race will replace the typical Friday second practice session, with points to be awarded to drivers and constructors depending on their placing.

Formula One chief executive, Stefano Domenicali, said details still need to be smoothed out.

“We are finalising the intricacies of it,” Domenicali said.

“For sure we do not want to take away the prestige of the Grand Prix itself.

“That will remain the climax of the weekend.

“It will provide some meaningful action the day before the race.

“It will give fans, media and broadcasters more content.

“It will last about half an hour – there will be no podium celebration.

“That will wait until Sunday,” he said

The new race will be labelled as ‘sprint qualifying’, with the engagement of a younger fan demographic a key reason behind the format.

The Italian, Canadian, and Brazilian Grands Prix are rumoured to be amongst the contenders to host the other two races.

Potential Amazon deal

F1 are in discussions with Amazon in regards to a potential carriage deal for their F1 TV streaming service.

Formula One’s director of media rights, Ian Holmes, spoke to Motorsport.com and revealed there have been conversations about rights acquisitions as well.

“You might be familiar with a thing called Amazon Channels – that would be an example where you’ve got Amazon Prime, which is where you see the content they buy, such as quite a lot of tennis, depending on where you are,” Holmes said.

“It sits within their content, channels where they carry additional OTT offerings – in some cases linear channels, in some cases OTT offerings.

“We are in discussions with them on both fronts.

“We’re talking to them about specifically acquiring our rights, in the same way you would sell to any other media company.

“But we’re also talking to them about a Channels arrangement where we have got the opportunity of putting F1 TV into the market,” he said.

These discussions come as F1 TV recently announced upgrades to their service.

F1 to test HDR broadcast technology

High dynamic range (HDR) broadcasts will be tested during the 2021 F1 season, with the aim to improve coverage of races.

8K broadcasts utilise HDR technology, and Ian Holmes is hoping to keep up with the sports broadcast industry’s high standards.

“Of course, we’re looking at the development of that side of technology,” Holmes said.

“One of the things that we’re specifically looking at… is HDR, high dynamic range, which is very effective for fast-moving objects.

“We will be conducting tests this year, and that for us I think is potentially the next stage of an offering.

“We’ve also got to look at who could take it.

“If we had a feed tomorrow, there would be very few people who could take it.

The other thing is sometimes you produce this wonderful technology, and the broadcasters have the ability [to show it], but people’s devices are not capable of taking it,” he said.

HDR is still a relatively new technology, but its use is becoming more common for major sports broadcasters.

In America, 8K HDR technology is currently being used for NFL and NASCAR.

BT Sport in the United Kingdom is also already using it for key broadcasts, with Sky Sports to trial the technology in their upcoming summer.

Red Bull and Williams lock in partnerships

Red Bull Racing have announced a partnership for the 2021 season with wellness brand Therabody.

The deal will give their pit crew and drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez access to Therabody’s Bluetooth percussive therapy devices to assist with recovery.

Red Bull Racing’s team principal, Christian Horner, said the sport is deceptively demanding on team member’s bodies.

“From the outside, Formula One might not seem like an intensely physical sport, especially for the mechanics in the garage,” Horner said.

“But these guys work incredibly hard to be in the best condition possible and if they weren’t, 1.82-second pit stops wouldn’t be possible.

“The downside is that the intense preparation and repetition can lead to muscle soreness so teaming up with Therabody will help mitigate that and will help the team recover faster so that they can perform at their best,” he said.

Williams Racing have also finalised two commercial partnerships ahead of the new season, announcing deals with 3D printing company Nexa3D and the Bremont watch brand.

The deal with Nexa3D will see their products used in the William’s team wind tunnel.

Bremont’s partnership will involve their drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi wear the brand’s timepieces, along with other senior team members.

The 2021 season gets underway on March 28 in Bahrain.

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