Timing screen, Abu Dhabi, 2011

F1 offers $50,000 prize to enhance live race data

2014 F1 season

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Timing screen, Abu Dhabi, 2011A $50,000 (£29,000) prize is being offered for the best new solution to presenting live data from F1 races.

The F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize is seeking new ways to present the information during F1 races on the Official F1 app, F1 website and to F1 teams, media and Paddock Club guests.

The prize is the first of three challenges being offered by Tata Communications and Formula One Management.

Entries will be judged by a panel including Lewis Hamilton, Martin Brundle and Mercedes executive director for technical Paddy Lowe.

Formula One Management’s chief technology officer John Morrison, who will also judge the competition, explained what they hope to gain from the competition. “We are looking for a mechanism to choose specific parameters, produce the calculations and display this information in an exciting and innovative way.”

“Obviously a mechanism to continuously update this information as the race weekend unfolds is a major part of the challenge.”

“It is undoubtedly the case that a wealth of predictive information about proposed race strategy and current car performance can be derived from the session timing information,” he added.

Entries to the competition can be found on the Tata Communications website.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 56 comments on “F1 offers $50,000 prize to enhance live race data”

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      2nd July 2014, 9:52

      There’s a top five never to be repeated…

    2. But for this they ask fans? I could not care less for the data if other gimmicks ruin the acutal racing which in the end is what I want to see! Perhaps they could just start with letting their app do simple stuff and actually work sometimes…

    3. Lets not bash everything F1 does now…be fair…its a good idea and some brainiac will come up with an incredible idea!

      1. The lucky winner may now be able to buy a ticket for a race weekend too! Is the pricing of tickets not also a more pressing concern? I can understand a high price if they are in demand but too often do we see more empty seats than full, right? Austria seemed to be an exception?

        Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    4. This is a good idea: I just wish they would extend the fan involvement to the new proposals also.

      Then maybe they’d recognise all you need to do is cure the dirty air problem.

    5. If you look at the app at face value, and looked at what features it currently offers (excluding the fact that its unreliable at the moment), then I would be hard pressed to say that the app is not offering what I’m after. However, I think this is a bad move, unless there is a truly game changing idea to spring forth from this competition.
      Some people I’ve spoken to are unhappy it doesn’t show live feeds, however, from my perspective, I’m sitting in front of my 46″ TV with surround sound for race action and wouldn’t bother on my mobile device. So, from my perspective, my primary use of the app is purely the live timing, so I can see any of the information about who is where, what the gaps are, sector times, etc… Sure, it would be nice to see what gear Nico is in around the lap, or what the fuel usage is, however, this is nothing that can’t be added to the current data without fuss. Don’t reinvent the wheel, how about you just improve upon it so that we move away from a stone wheel to a wooden wheel. Then in 5 years we might be in a position to have steel wheels, and who knows, in 10 years we might have an carbon wheel.

    6. Wait… In which season were Alguersuari, Maldonaldo and Grosjean on the same grid?

      1. @nickf12013 2011 Abu Dhabi GP.

        Grosjean did Friday Practice for RenauLotus.

      2. 2011 Practice sessions maybe with Grosjean as a test driver?

    7. $50,000? I’m sure ultimately it’s worth more than that.

      1. Should be if it works, yeah.

      2. 50k is a quite standard price for a basic application, without any fancy feature.

      3. It probably is, but more so they have their pick if the litter. Companies do this to artists all the time: “we don’t want to have to pay everyone, so we’ll call it a contest and we get tons of free work from eager people!”

        We call it the “it’ll look great in your portfolio” syndrome.

        1. This sort of “contest” makes me angry. Let’s let everybody work for free, and then we only have to pay for one idea that we like the best.

          Why don’t they actually hire a competent company to design and build their systems (particularly the app, which is a confusing unreliable mess) and pay them properly.

    8. Wow looks like only fans in Australia, Brazil, Canada (excluding Quebec), Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India,
      Norway, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States can apply. Nice one TATA and FOM!

    9. They should enlist the services of the people who designed and ran these websites:

      Shame that FOM took them down.

    10. Lets start by giving us the sector times back instead of those useless dots. *BOOM* $50,000 in tha pocket!

    11. It’s good that they realise they need to update – much of the coverage has barely changed in a decade, the onscreen info is still maddeningly positioned and unhelpful, and almost guaranteed to never answer the questions you find yourself asking. And it’s good that they’re open to suggestions on how best to use the more comprehensive data available. But my heart sinks at the phrase “display this information in an exciting and innovative way.” I don’t want it in an exciting an innovative way – I want it in an accessible, comprehensible, coherent way. If you start turning it into irritating flashing animated gimmicks then it will be just another reason to turn off.

    12. Nice idea but it doesn’t help that the sport is run by a Dinosaur who is stuck in the past and has his head buried in the sand when it comes to broadcasting technology. Bernie just doesn’t want to know. He’s the same age as my Dad who couldn’t give a toss about the internet or technology either. It’s an age thing that’s all. Which is why F1 will benefit once Bernie is no longer associated with it. Good idea this.

      1. Ah well…in that case lets not do anything about it then!

    13. so they want fans input on this and but nothing else. Typical FIA…
      *Fumbling Idiotic Association

    14. Brad Bircumshaw
      2nd July 2014, 11:19

      To be fair I watched the 2012 British Gp last night and got reminded how much I used to enjoy this sport all these changes have corrupted the racing as they say if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it

    15. How to enhance live data?

      How about the blindingly obvious change of not shafting people on an annual basis to pay an extortionate amount for this woeful and flawed app?

      $50k please…

    16. Classic FIA. They have a good idea (see if there’s anyone out there who can do a better job than the cretins we hired) and then screw it up by getting non-users to judge the results (drivers and technical directors should be having input to the FIA’s deliberations on regulations, not applications to be used by the fans). But I guess it doesn’t matter. Nothing will come of this, anyway…

      1. I think Martin Brundle probably uses it as much as anyone!

      2. @clive-allen But the FIA, FOM & The Teams DO use this data.

        This isn’t just to find a new layout for the f1 app, There talking about designs for the actual timing screens which everyone in the F1 paddock use.

        2nd paragraph of the article-

        The F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize is seeking new ways to present the information during F1 races on the Official F1 app, F1 website and to F1 teams, media and Paddock Club guests.

        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 – http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/3268/screenshot090wo.jpg
        2014 – http://antfrench.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/aus-gp-time-sheet-1.png

        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.

        1. @gt-racer Incredible to think that the layout has remained the same for all these years!

          It’s good that they’re doing this competition, but in a way is a shame that a sponsor like Tata had to get involved and make a contest (with obvious marketing purposes) to get the change going, FOM should’ve done this years ago on their own.

          1. 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.

            Much of the data FOM are now providing to fans/broadcasters was stuff initially built for them, The FIA & the teams. The tracking data for instance was stuff originally designed to help with the digital TV service FOM ran, In 2001 we had computer systems tracking the cars which would alert the director to a car that was likely to be attempting a pass or had gone off the track in some way.

            An early example of this is the ralf schumacher/jacques villeneuve crash at melbourne in 2001, The system alerted the director the the fact jacques was close to ralf & switched the broadcast to jacques in-car camera automatically-

          2. The system alerted the director the the fact jacques was close to ralf & switched the broadcast to jacques in-car camera automatically

            @gt-racer Wow I didn’t know that! I find that very interesting, I always learn something new about FOM when you’re around hehe.
            And you were right, now I understand why they hadn’t changed the timing screens, thanks!

            1. @mantresx There was a good article written on grandprix.com in 2001 detailing some of the stuff we were doing on f1digital+ & some of what was planned for the future-

            2. Its actually interesting reading that knowing that its only now that the plan detailed in the final paragraph has become reality.

              There is now (Thanks to Tata) a fibre optic network which allows FOM at the track to be linked to the Biggin Hill base & a lot of the extra content is now produced at Biggin Hill rather than the FOM guys on site at the tracks.

              Also makes me think back to just how far ahead of everyone else we were at the time with regards to the technology we had & with a lot of the internal trials we were doing. There was almost a money is no object approach, If it could make the coverage better we tried it & if it worked we spent a lot of money on it & aimed to get 100% out of it.

              The fibre ring we laid round the entire circuit was one such thing, We spent a fortune on it & it took sometimes 2 days to set the whole thing up & about the same time to dismantle it but it was worth it for what it allowed us to do.
              One was the tracking but it also allowed us to have a ground based reception system for the in-car cameras eliminating the break-up & signal loss under bridges & through tunnels & guaranteed us in-car reception in poor weather when in the past we woudl lose all in-car cameras if the helicopter which picked up the signal from the cars was forced to land.

              Just with the ground based in-car reception we were about 5 years ahead of everyone else, It wasn’t until I think 2005 that Gigawave came up with there ground based digital system that there was an alternative to the helicopter for the in-car camera signals.
              Ironically FOM now use that system rather than a fiber-ring for the in-cars.

              We also wanted in-car telemetry for our in-car channel but were unable to get the engine manufacturer’s or teams to give us access or permission to broadcast it. So we found a guy (Who’s name I forget) who came in & helped us develop a system based off his software to generate a graphic showing us the engine rev’s based off the audio we got from the microphone we had for the in-car cameras. We were later told by several teams that the rev data on our graphics generated by that system was more accurate than they were comfortable with.

              That system in action-
              This was before we had the in-car reception through the fibre ring so theres still break-up under the bridge & you notice the only problem with the rev graphic setup, It would go a bit mad if there was any sound break-up.

              Since I think 2005-2006 (When we introduced the throttle/brake traces on the telemetry graphics) we were finally getting all telemetry data directly from the teams so no need for that system.

    17. The America’s Cup sailing coverage has done some really cool stuff with using digital data to show past and projected course, and other data in an engaging way. Hopefully someone from outside the FIA digital team can come up with something that is similarly engaging. I like that they have taken this approach – X-prize style – to the problem. Getting some minds and eyes from outside the F1 / FIA and even motor racing could generate some really interesting ideas.

    18. Include the live feed…

    19. How about thinking outside the box like showing timing data on computer? I’d love to use that app on a screen that is bigger than my 3″ phone. And no, i don’t want a bigger phone – it fits nicely in my pockets.

      1. Not sure what you mean here – the timing data is available through an app or on the website. As such it can be viewed on a phone, tablet or PC.

        Of course the IT could be better, as could the design and probably the costs too, but that’s where we came in.

        1. The data on the website is woefully incomplete compared to the app

          1. Yes indeed, especially since they ‘downgraded’ it to encourage purchasing. But @nmsi implies that live timing is not available on a computer. And if you want a bigger screen, you can use it on a tablet.

            Not that I’m defending the way data is presented – it’s behind the times, as indeed the fact they have launched a competition shows.

            1. No live timing is not available. Colored dots and lap times are but that is not what i would call live timing.
              As the current case is – i am paying and i still get less than last year.

    20. I find I end up staring at my phone for live timing rather than the screen so I end up missing half the race!

      I would love the option (maybe on the red button) to have live timing in the top right or left of the screen so it doesn’t obstruct the race but so that I can see what is happening. That way, it would be optional so you don’t have to have it there if you don’t want.

      I’d extend this to allowing you to customise what data you receive so that if you are focusing on a specific battle, you could bring up info relating to fuel usage, what lap specific drivers last stopped on and other useful info as and when you want it.

      I’d also add information relating to power usage – ie if someone has turned their engines up to full, we should know. The teams all know what each other are doing anyway because it’s all over the radio but the fans miss out.

      Like it or not, the current state of F1 means that races are often decided by “settings” and as we aren’t privy to this information, we miss out on what is actually going on.

    21. This skill-based Contest is open to legal residents of the
      following countries who are at least 18 old, or the age of
      majority in the jurisdiction where they reside, whichever
      is older, at the time of entry: Australia, Brazil, Canada
      (excluding Quebec), Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India,
      Norway, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and
      the United States.

      Why? :(

      1. Most bizarre of all is the (excluding Quebec), in particular as that’s where the Canadian GP is.

        Further exclusions for Northamptonshire, Victoria and Catalonia to follow???

    22. I seem to be living in wrong country: “This skill-based Contest is open to legal residents of the following countries /…/: Australia, Brazil, Canada (excluding Quebec), Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Norway, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ”

      12 countries – truly international contest :)

    23. A countdown to when DRS and Double Points disappears.

    24. Create a Github page of the app and put a link on the app to it for skilled users to post patches.

    25. They should just open up their timing API. Developers like myself would create something cool just for the fun of it.

      1. I really like this idea.
        I don’t know if you have looked at the supplied data sets in the competition, but they seem like pretty straight forward XML data.

    26. It’s worth $100k if the app contains a special abby dabby feature

    27. This is hilarious. The same year they shut down F1LT, they offer a $50K prize to do exactly what that app did.

    28. I’m sure the fans are those who know best what would be nice for us to have, but what’s the point of a “chief technology officer” if he has his job done by others? He, or his subordinates, should be the ones who come up with the ideas and implement them.

    29. I am confused what do they actually want here? do you need to be a coder? do they want an app designed with all supporting code?

    30. Interesting: you don’t actually have to program anything to enter the competition, just write up to 1000 words and include a few supporting documents, e.g. graphical mock-ups. That makes the entry threshold quite low. I wonder if we could make a team of F1 Fanatic members and use our combined expertise to put together a strong entry?

      Unfortunately, we’ve only got two weeks to do everything from start to finish. I can put together some graphics and I think I can write fairly well, but coming up with the ideas is obviously the most difficult part. I’m also quite busy with work over the next fortnight, so someone else should probably take charge of the project. Anyone interested?

    31. To all of those who criticised it as a way to get people to work for free, if you read the details, the winner of the competition to improve the live data may not even win $50,000 but is simply ‘in with a chance’ to win $50,000!

      The winner of one of the three challenges will then be selected by the judging panel as the grand prizewinner.

      In other words even if you come up with the best design and it’s picked by FOM you could end up with a prize worth considerably less than $50,000 (like a trip to Monace GP 2015). It does seem like a very cheap trick.

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