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Inside Track: Uncovering the Strategy Behind Formula 1's New Graphic Insights for the 2021 Season

19/04/2021

Inside track: Uncovering the strategy behind Formula 1's new graphic Insights for the 2021 season By Heather McLean, Editor

Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 14:12

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New F1 Insight Braking Performance displays and compares drivers' braking styles and performance by measuring how closely they approach the apex of a corner before braking

Formula 1 has announced the release of the first of six real-time racing statistics for the 2021 season.

The first F1 Insight to be introduced this season, Braking Performance, shows how a driver's braking style during a cornering manoeuvre can deliver an advantage coming out of the corner. It will be used as an on-screen graphic by broadcasters and on Formula 1's social media channels this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix in Imola.

Each of the new F1 Insights, which will be rolled out throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season, are designed to give fans the inside view on split-second decisions made on the track before, during, and after each race by providing the data and analysis fans need to interpret driver and team race strategy and performance.

If we can get the Gen Z'ers involved in Formula 1 by using data to tell those stories and give them insights and get them engaged in it, brilliant, then I'm all for it

The new additions have been created in partnership between Formula 1 and Amazon Web Services (AWS). They build on six released in 2020 and a previous six released since the start of the F1 and AWS partnership in 2018, making a total of 18 F1 Insights delivered by the end of November 2021.

All of the insights will be integrated into the races' international broadcast feeds around the globe, including F1's digital platform, F1TV, helping fans to understand the split-second decisions and race strategies made by drivers or teams that can dramatically affect a race outcome.

Library of broadcast graphics

The idea behind F1 Insights is to give Deane Locke, F1's director of broadcast and media, effectively a library of graphics that he can call upon for any event, says Rob Smedley, director of data systems at Formula 1, speaking with SVG Europe.

When there's an event [such as a crash or battle] coming up in the middle of a race that he wants to tell a story about, these offer a great way to be able to tell that story, through data, he notes. What we've always got to think about when we're using data is how do we use it responsibly, first of all; how we're using it to give insight.

Rob Smedley, director of data systems at Formula 1

He elaborates: Formula 1 races are incredible complex; if you imagine a football game, predominantly 85% of the action is always where the ball is. Formula 1 is very, very different because the director of the broadcast can only ever focus on one particular car pairing, or one particular battle, or one particular car.

The reality is because there can be 20 cars on the track, there can be 20 interactions, 20 battles or events going on all around the track or in the pits, Smedley continues. Really it's about teasing out that data to give the fans some insight as to what's going on in something that they are watching and to give them more information than just the metadata that they're taking in through the visuals, or to tell them something else which is emerging somewhere else. In some cases [it's saying] stay tuned because something really great is going to come up here and here's the data.

He adds: We can't predict the future; we're engineers and scientists, not magicians, but what we can do is say our simulations and algorithms we've developed with AWS [say] this is what we think is going to happen . That draws the fans in and gives [them] much more insight into what's really happening right around the circuit.

So many choices

More than 300 sensors on each race car generate over 1.1 million data points per second that F1 transmits from the cars to the pit and onto AWS for processing. F1 relies on the breadth and depth of AWS services to stream and analyse that flood of data as it is generated, and then present it in a meaningful way for TV and online viewers around the world through the F1 Insights.

Those six F1 Insights released last year were used across F1's racing broadcast for each of the races on the World Feed, as well as on its digital channels since 2020. Says Smedley: With AWS last year, what emerged was that the algorithms that we're building, the models that we're building are so complex [but] what usually gets onto the screen is a really simplified, elegant output. There's so many different ways we can use this output that we started to collaborate with not just the live broadcast element of Formula 1 but also the digital platforms as well [to tell] more deeper data stories as well.

That data is also being used on social media to attract different kinds of Formula 1 fans, outside of the hardcore regulars. Explains Smedley: Across the F1 AWS partnership, we're really cognisant of looking at how we can use all these data products to get these different fan groups involved in Formula 1. Younger fan groups might want to consume Formula 1 racing in five minutes, or 90 seconds or 60 seconds, across the various social media platforms. Data is a brilliant way of being able to do that; to condense stuff down into a format that is understandable, but condensed down into key moments of a two hour race. If we can get the Gen Z'ers involved in Formula 1 by using data to tell those stories and give them insights and get them engaged in it, brilliant, then I'm all for it.

More than 300 sensors on each race car generate over 1.1 million data points per second that F1 transmits from the cars to the pit and onto AWS for processing

Bucket of ideas

To create the new i
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