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F1 launches new fan zone and TV channel at Spanish GP

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula One fans attending this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix will be the first to experience a new F1 “fan zone”.

The race will also see the first appearance of a new dedicated television channel for racegoers. It will feature “live Formula One interviews, expert insights, and exclusive appearances by current drivers and legends of the sport”, according to Formula One Management.

The fan zone will boast “unique experiences” including “racing simulators, a 200-metre zip line, state of the art pit stop challenges and live performances from local DJs.”

A two-seater racing car capable of up to 300kph will be present to give one competition winner an opportunity to lap the circuit at F1 speeds. Other prizes on offer include “Paddock Club passes and photo opportunities with Formula One teams throughout the grid”.

Paddock Club guests will also be given new experiences including a tour of the circuit in the drivers’ parade truck and access to a functioning garage. A selection of show cars will be on view plus “a full engine display from Mercedes”.

F1 managing directotr Sean Bratches says the move is part of F1’s “major evolution”.

“The Spanish Grand Prix is a landmark moment in the brand’s history,” he said.

“From the outset, we have focused on getting fans closer to the action and broadening the appeal of the sport. The launch of this weekend’s Fan Festival marks the beginning of this journey and we are excited about bringing races to life in this way over the course of the season and beyond.”

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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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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  • 36 comments on “F1 launches new fan zone and TV channel at Spanish GP”

    1. A two-seater racing car capable of up to 300kph will be present to give one competition winner an opportunity to lap the circuit at F1 speeds.

      Now there’s something I’d really like to do.

      1. @paulk Very much so!

        At the first race I went to as a fan, the 1998 British GP, McLaren gave David Jason (a British actor for those who haven’t heard of him) the chance to be driven around the track by Martin Brundle in their two-seater. He got in the car and then jumped back out saying he’d changed his mind. I remember my teenage self being flabbergasted he’d passed up that chance!

        1. I seem to remember Mansell crashing a 2 seater F1 car at one point, nearly rolled it with the passenger on board!

        2. UNEEDAFINN2WIN
          11th May 2017, 11:58

          Del Boy would’ve blag it and then lost it.Lovely Jubbly

      2. It is, but it’s usually done before the race starts.

        And Mario’s still driving the car.

    2. Brilliant news. Really easy stuff that should have been done absolutely years ago. F1 is feeling fresh for the first time, in a long time.

      1. It has been for years in Melbourne.

        1. yes, but not by f1 itself!

    3. Perhaps adding free wifi for all and free live streaming of the race for those who bought the ticket. In some track like Malaysia GP, you can’t see the screen. It is more logical to give free live streaming since the tickets are very expensive. Paying fans deserve more.

    4. Brilliant news. I’m not in a position to attend any races this year, but next year, if things continue in this way, I’ll definitely make my way across the water in 2018.

    5. Fantastic news – for too long F1 has been severely lacking in fan engagement. Arguably the sport’s biggest problem; forget quiet engines, processional races, PR-strangled drivers….if the sport doesn’t even appear to want to give the fans their money’s worth, especially those who pay through the nose to actually attend Grands Prix, then frankly it’s a sinking ship. It’s great to see new additions like this.

      As a fan I’m extremely impressed at just how quickly Liberty is re-energising the sport and reversing the toxic elitist atmosphere which reigned supreme under Ecclestone, long may it continue!

    6. “a new dedicated television channel for racegoers”

      Not sure to fully understand this one.
      Will it be aired locally? Through radio waves?
      Is it a live stream accessible from the free version of F1 app?
      Will it be available worldwide for free?

      1. I expect it will be like Silverstone TV was in the late 2000s – broadcast onto the giant screens (and maybe onto local TVs and Kangaroo successor units in future) and making sure there is always something on the screens – be that the racing on track (during race activity) or interviews and similar filler (when there isn’t anything on the track itself). Certainly made lunch breaks on the Copse terrace more interesting :) I doubt it will be available at any price anywhere else, at least in the beginning, as I believe the idea is to enrich the race attendee’s experience.

    7. I can answer the last point – no. This will contravene the current deals in place with local broadcasters.

      I’d imagine it’d simply be an app you download, or perhaps an extension to the F1 app where you’ll use a password or something or other to access the content.

    8. New ???
      We’ve had that for years at Albert Park; I think it was even called Fan Zone!
      I’ve seen/done all of that: pit stop, simulators, DJ’s, 2-seater. I even had a great chat with Paul Stoddart (it was his 2-seater).

      The good news is that this is a great experience for the fans in between races (and especially on the Friday and Saturday).

    9. Glad to see a lot of what Melbourne has been doing for some time get out to the European races!
      They’ve not done all… but very close!
      Monza in 2010, Singapore in 2011, Spa in 2013 was a little bland (not horrendously so though) having seen what Melbourne puts on, but that should all change now!!

      Great move!

      (not bragging, just sharing my experience!)

    10. There was similar stuff around the outside of the track at Hockenheim back in 2012 at least, but if they’re going to make it bigger and better, and for all circuits, then great.

      I was pretty disappointed by the experience at Interlagos last year — for my $500 or so ticket, I got access to my grandstand for three days and that was it. A seat, access to some (actually not-too-overpriced) food under the grandstand, some merchandise stands down there, and nothing more of interest. Interlagos is maybe tough since they don’t have much space outside the track (directly behind the main grandstand is a street with housing), but anything that makes the tickets better value for money is a good thing.

      1. I wonder how the TV channel will be implemented. At Hockenheim, I rented a Kangaroo TV, which was really helpful to figure out what’s going on during the sessions. Of course, Bernie shut that down the next year, presumably because he wasn’t getting a big enough cut of the money.

        My tickets to Interlagos came with a voucher for the F1 app, so I at least got Five Live commentary when the app wasn’t crashing (which was a lot). Though I was only able to use that because I’d bought a SIM card with data.

        So having an experience like the Kangaroo TV again would be really useful.

        1. In Melbourne the GP TV is broadcast to all the big-screens, which they cut to in-between the support races with various interviews, behind the scenes videos and other highlights. The race and support race commentary around the track comes from the GP TV team, which is also broadcast across a dedicated FM channel that can be tuned into with any radio.

    11. a 200-metre zip line

      Can somebody please explain to me what this is? Is suppose this is not what I have in mind.

      I had the chance to do a few laps on board a 3 seaters F1 and it was really cool! What Liberty is setting up sounds brilliant.

      1. Apart from sharing slightly similar physics, you’re quite right. Otherwise it would be the F1 equivalent of the World’s Greatest Ball of Twine – great for twine enthusiasts but possibly aimed at the wrong audience if located in a F1 fan zone ;)

        A zip line is a pair of poles (in this case 200 m apart), one considerably higher than the other. Between them is a solid line (the zip) and below a mat in case someone falls off or messes up the landing at the other end. Dangling from the line is a platform, which can typically be some combination of sat upon, stood upon or held. (For safety reasons, I doubt the F1 Fan Zone will allow the last option, but it’s sometimes seen used that way on giant obstacle courses). The rider is then taken by the platform from one pole to the other using the force of gravity.

        The longer the path and the bigger the difference between pole heights, the faster it goes – hence the significance of the zip line being a nice long 200 m.

      2. @x303 As it happens, one of my local parks has one – but it’s about 15 m, there’s not much difference between pole height and it’s not especially impressive as a result. It does see quite a bit of use from pre-teens and young teenagers though, since it’s the closest that park gets to white-knuckle excitement.

        1. Oh, I think this is this kind of entertaining facility.
          Thank you @alianora-la-canta for clearing this thing to my poor mind!

    12. not necessarily against it but at the same time i don’t really care because none of this is why i go to a race track, i go to watch cars on the track & not play around.

      as long as it doesn’t take away any attention from the ontrack activities or prove an annoyance for those trying to focus on the track action (in terms of rubbish music etc… like the formula e races with there awful DJ) then i really couldn’t care less about any of it because its not why i’m there.

    13. So with a few slight differences it’s the same as the Melbourne GP experience now. The 2-seater, the GP TV, the fanzone, etc. Why is this called a ‘landmark’?

      1. because f1 itself takes care of this, not leaving it to someone else in one or two races..

        1. That’s true. It’s going to really improve the experience for race-goers, not just the fans but locals who want to be part of a big event.

      2. My understanding is that it’s landmark because all the venues are getting something like it, not just the ones with super-thoughtful organisers.

    14. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      11th May 2017, 23:24

      Kieth and everyone, this reminds me of NASCAR in 2003 or 2004 when it BLEW up and the popularity sky rocketed! Simple things go a long long way in building a new fan base who may like all of the activities while the old school and new kids who love the on track stuff. F1 should be a party that every person, doesn’t matter who, can enjoy in some way. My final thought on the NASCAR comparison is why F1 can succeed long term compared to NASCAR’s glory days of 01 to 07 are this. F1 only visits each venue once and each country has its own unique fan base.

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        11th May 2017, 23:29

        PS, I got tickets for my wife and I for Montreal yesterday, you want to see a circus, the whole city since I’ve been going, bar the last 2, is what Liberty is trying to achieve. Parties, festivals, the entire city is Formula 1 for 5 days.

    15. Paddock Club tickets include a full Merc engine display. Honda have bought all the Paddock Club tickets for the rest of the season, sorry folks.

    16. All of this has been happening at the Australian GP in Melbourne for about 10 years now. Just goes to show why we have the best Grand Prix in the world.

    17. I did the IndyCar 2-seater around a supermarket driven by just another dude. The rate of accelleration and breaking was unreal and I know I got a tiny taste of what the car offers.

      The local cops shut down that part of the Penske Racing promotion shortly after I went. Power, Helio, and Briscoe were all there signing things too. Ever see the day F1 does that on a regular basis?

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