Scheduling: The 2021 United States Grand Prix

With 6 races to go in the 2021 Formula One season, just 6 points separate Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the championship returns to Texas for the United States Grand Prix!

For UK viewers, the weekend offering from both Sky Sports and Channel 4 looks a little different to usual – hence why Motorsport Broadcasting has opted to publish a full schedule for the weekend.

F1 – the coverage

Channel 4’s offering is the weakest from a free-to-air broadcaster in decades, partly by choice, and partly inflicted upon them.

With qualifying starting at 21:00 UK time on Saturday, Channel 4 have opted to air qualifying on Sunday morning instead of a late-night Saturday slot, as they did in 2019.

Meanwhile, the race edit begins just after midnight on Sunday, the earliest Channel 4 can contractually air the race.

Channel 4 have trimmed both shows back compared to usual: a one-hour qualifying show airs on Sunday with an 85-minute programme covering the race. Expect limited commercials, and a weekend featuring primarily World Feed content.

The actual race edits should be the same length as usual, except without the usual bells and whistles that production company Whisper usually provide.

Given the closeness of the championship race, one wonders whether Channel 4 should have negotiated with Sky to bring the free-to-air highlights package forward, even by an hour to 23:05.

Doing so would unlikely deplete Sky’s live audience, but boost Channel 4’s figure significantly, resulting in a net gain overall. Thankfully this is not a championship decider, because having the F1 title won at 01:00 on free-to-air television is not in anyone’s interests.

By way of comparison, 30 years ago, the BBC aired a 50-minute highlights package of the US Grand Prix from Phoenix in a late night time slot on BBC Two.

Sky have seemingly reacted to Channel 4’s qualifying conundrum by opting to simulcast their live coverage on their new Sky Showcase channel, enabling more viewers to watch qualifying across Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.

F1 – the team and W Series

With a reduced offering comes a change in presenter, as Lee McKenzie steps into Steve Jones’s presenting shoes for Channel 4.

Martin Brundle returns to Sky’s coverage after missing both the Russian and Turkish rounds, with Jenson Button also joining the team out in Austin.

For the first time, IndyCar and NASCAR star Danica Patrick joins Sky’s offering. One person not with Sky is Ted Kravitz, Kravitz part of the W Series team during the US Grand Prix weekend.

Live coverage of the W Series airs across More4 and Channel 4, the Saturday race airing on More4 with the season finale airing on Channel 4.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website

Thursday 21st October
21:00 to 22:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
22:00 to 22:30 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23:00 to 00:30 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 22nd October
17:00 to 18:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
20:45 to 22:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday 23rd October
18:45 to 20:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 18:55 to 20:05
20:30 to 21:00 – Hamilton vs Verstappen: The Season so Far (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
21:00 to 23:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
=> Sky Showcase until 23:15
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 21:55 to 23:05
23:05 to 00:25 – W Series: Race 1 (More4)

Sunday 24th October
08:00 to 08:30 – W Series: Race 1 Highlights (Channel 4)

08:30 to 09:30 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)
16:30 to 18:00 – W Series: Race 2 (Channel 4)

18:30 to 23:00 – F1: Race
=> 18:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:55 – Race (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 19:45 to 22:00
=> 22:00 – Chequered Flag (Sky Sports F1)
00:05 to 01:30 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 United States Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

Meanwhile, MotoGP heads back to Misano, the Emilia Romagna race filling the void left by the cancellation of the flyaway rounds.

With a 52-point advantage, Fabio Quartararo is odds on favourite to win his first MotoGP World Championship. As always, live coverage of every session airs on BT Sport 2, with highlights airing on ITV4.

Elsewhere in motor racing, the British Touring Car Championship concludes with all the action from Brands Hatch airing live on ITV4.

Friday 22nd October
08:00 to 15:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP
=> 09:55 – Moto2
=> 12:15 – Moto3
=> 13:10 – MotoGP
=> 14:10 – Moto2

Saturday 23rd October
08:00 to 15:00 – Practice and Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP: Practice 3
=> 09:55 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 11:35 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 13:10 – MotoGP: Qualifying
=> 14:10 – Moto2: Qualifying

Sunday 24th October
07:30 to 14:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3: Race
=> 11:00 – Moto2: Race
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

Monday 25th October
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 Emilia Romagna MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

If plans change, this article will be updated.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

A little thank you

Hi all,

I wanted to write this to say thank you to everyone who has donated to the fundraiser I have been running over the past few weeks.

As some of you will be aware, today (October 10th), I completed my first half marathon around the legendary Silverstone circuit in 2 hours and 18 minutes.

Today was extra special, because I was not only running for myself, to prove that I can do it, but I was also running to raise money for an awesome organisation which is close to my heart.

Racing Pride exists to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity through motorsport, and is a movement developed in collaboration with Stonewall UK.

Having come out as bisexual in 2016, it only felt fitting to give back in my own way, and this felt like the perfect mechanism to do it. Organisation such as Racing Pride need our support so that they can perform their core activities each year.

In addition, running has helped me immensely through the pandemic, boosting my mental health as a result. In 18 months, I have gone from no running at all to running a half marathon.

The race itself today was tough, and my body feels a little bit broken right now! But I am so proud of where I have come from, and where I am now (both physically and mentally).

Many thanks to everyone who has donated, no matter how large or small, every penny will help Racing Pride in the months ahead.

There is still time to donate, so if you do want to contribute to the total, head over here – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dave-nelson-running-racing-pride

Thanks,
Dave
Owner and Editor of Motorpsort Broadcasting

Formula E’s ‘record breaking’ live audience figures fail to hide COVID slump

Formula E has continued to grow its live television audience during the seventh season, “reaching record breaking levels,” according to figures released by series organisers.

The season, which saw Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries clinch the Drivers’ Championship in Berlin, saw a cumulative audience of 316 million viewers tune in across the 15 races, a growth of 32% year-on-year.

Formula E says that the growth is “driven by new distribution agreements with free-to-air (FTA) channels in key markets,” in key markets such as Germany, Italy, Brazil, UK, France, USA, and Indonesia.

The championship says audiences in Germany increased by 336%, in Brazil by 286% and in the UK by 156%.

Jamie Reigle, Formula E’s Chief Executive Officer, said “This was a record-breaking year for Formula E as we worked with our teams, media partners and sponsors to deliver a fan-first strategy emphasising live race audience development and direct engagement on our digital platforms.”

“It’s clear there is strong fan interest in Formula E’s electric racing in cities and we are delighted to see our strategy of partnering with broadcasters committed to localised, engaging and accessible free-to-air coverage paying off.”

“We are set for a fantastic Season 8 as we welcome back fans at our races in some of the most iconic city locations in the world.”

“We are focused on strengthening our broadcaster footprint and relationships, increasing our global audiences and delivering an integrated media platform to serve our fans and support our continued growth.”

Formula E says that the live television audience makes up most of their audience (62%) for the first time, while the viewing duration has grown by 26% for each live race.

Press release masks overall decline

Most fans will look at the release issued by Formula E, and think that this is good news for the electric championship.

However, by portraying the data in this way, organisers have cleverly masked the overall decline in the race-by-race audience.

Formula E did record a cumulative audience of 316 million for season 7, which represents a 32% year-on-year growth, and both are factually accurate statements.

What the press release does not tell you, is that season 6 featured 11 races, with season 7 featuring 15 races, a 36% increase.

The cumulative audience was always likely going to jump, because there were more races in season 7 compared with season 6.

A 32% cumulative increase for Formula E represents a 3% decline year-on-year in the race-by-race average.

SeasonCumulative Audience% y-o-yAverage Audience% y-o-yRaces Held
2014-15 (1)Unknownn/aUnknownn/a11
2015-16 (2)192 millionUnknown19.2 millionUnknown10
2016-17 (3)223 million16%18.6 million-3%12
2017-18 (4)330 million48%27.5 million48%12
2018-19 (5)411 million25%31.6 million15%13
2019-20 (6)239 million*-42%21.8 million-31%11
2020-21 (7)316 million32%21.1 million-3%15
Source: Companies House accounts / Formula E press releases / Motorsport Broadcasting analysis
* never reported publicly, derived from the % increase for 2020-21 season.

Formula E’s metrics on both the television and social front surged between 2017 and 2019, with strong increases across the board as the series transitioned from Gen1 from Gen2 machinery.

As COVID struck though, Formula E suffered, with season 6 wrapped up across 6 races in Berlin, the season unusually finishing on a Thursday. With that in mind, a depleted season 6 average is more than understandable.

A further decline, even if only 3% year-on-year, shows that Formula E is struggling to recover from the pandemic, despite what series organisers may say, with audience figures now at their lowest level since season 3. An average of 21.1 million viewers worldwide tuned into each race during season 7.

On the social front, over the nine-month period from October 2020 to July 2021, Formula E’s following rose by 150,000, from 2.57 million followers to 2.71 million followers, or an increase of 5.5%.

These are small pickings for Formula E, who will be hoping for a more normal season 8, to get their metrics heading back in the right direction.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

The making of the London E-Prix

For the past seven years, Formula E has raced on city streets around the world, from Beijing back in 2014, all the way through to Berlin last month.

The 2020-21 season was the most competitive in the championship’s history, with Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries clinching the title by 7 points in the season deciding round.

The nature of the championship has presented challenges for North One Television and Aurora Media Worldwide, who produce Formula E’s television offering under the FE TV banner.

We caught up with the team in London to find out how the ExCeL facility came to fruition from a broadcasting perspective…

Influencing the circuit design

The London set up is unusual for the television production team, with their facilities laid out across multiple exhibition halls, something Sebastian Tiffert, who leads Formula E’s broadcasting department, describes as ‘luxury.’

“Normally, we’re doing an event in the city centre of Paris, in Rome, where there’s no space. Instead of rocking up with big TV trucks, everything is temporary and small.”

“We travel with multiple pods, built by Timeline. The pods carry all the technical equipment, sound desks, vision, and so on, around the world,” Tiffert explains.

“It gives us flexibility, as sometimes you must set them up around the corner or a u-shape. This [in London] is luxury for us, with everything in a nice line.”

The production layout reminded me of the World Rally Championship service park in Deeside, Wales, the series taking over multiple buildings within the Deeside Industrial Estate for the TV production and media to use.

Preparation for the ExCeL has been years in the making, The Race reporting that the ExCeL was Formula E’s ‘plan B’ option in early 2015, when the fate of the Battersea Park race was hanging on a knife edge.

The indoor start-finish straight for Formula E’s London E-Prix.

One of the key considerations for West Gillett, Formula E’s television director, was ensuring that the contrast between the indoor and outdoor elements of the circuit was noticeable to the viewer watching at home.

While Gillett has no influence on the locations that series organisers choose, his team can influence the circuit design.

“The decision on which venue we’re going to is not something we would be involved in, but we get heavily involved in the track layout,” he tells me.

“Here, I did not want the indoor of the venue to look like outside. I didn’t want all the house lights; I didn’t want the cars coming in and for it to look like daylight.”

“The idea was to have that contrast between night and day, so indoors would be the equivalent of our Saudi race, a night race with the track lights. I’ve been really keen from the beginning to get that contrast.”

Gillett utilises the external camera angles to aid the transition: “Camera 17, you’re taking them indoors, visually the viewer knows now. If we look at the shot [see image below], you can see on the right-hand side it’s light and on the left-hand side its dark.”

Also a factor for Gillett at all of Formula E’s venues is the location of the Attack Mode. Attack Mode gives drivers up to 8 minutes of additional power, the length varying from race-to-race.

To activate the boost, drivers must drive through the activation zone on circuit, which Gillett prefers to be in an area unlikely to feature much action during the race.

“I won’t want the Attack Mode down at corner where we expect there to be lots of overtaking, and then also we don’t want it too near the start.”

Around the circuit, sound equipment in the form of
RØDE Microphones help bring Formula E to life.

“A place that is quite difficult for us is Santiago, because I’ve got to show the Attack Mode and drivers coming down the start-finish straight to establish positions at the same time,” Gillett says.

“Ideally, the Attack Mode is half way around the track, with nothing else prior to it or after it that I need to show.”

Working within the ExCel confines

Living in London has been to Gillett’s benefit, having visited the venue multiple times in the run up to the E-Prix.

The indoor nature of the venue, plus the proximity of the ExCeL to the London City Airport, are obstacles that the team has had to work with from the outset.

“We came down a couple of years ago, and then again around six months ago [before the race],” he recalls.

“For us, it’s looking at the height of venue, the ceilings involved, the podium positions and cameras, making sure we could optimise the coverage inside the venue itself.”

“I was thinking about having a cable camera like we’ve had in the past, but the ceiling is just too low. There’s a lot of things like that that you just couldn’t do.”

“Another example is with the podium: we quite often have a jib camera for the podium, but because the space is really small, we can’t have the swinging jib.”

“Outside, we can’t have the helicopter live because we’re right next to the airport. It’s critically important to get that skyline and the relationship between the racing and the city itself,” Gillett believes.

“We did send a helicopter up on Friday to get some views for the pre-show to tie the London city to the venue, but we couldn’t do it live unfortunately.”

The build starts the week before the race, from the ground up, setting up all the infrastructure required to hold the E-Prix.

“We’re not coming to a venue which is pre cabled, like a football stadium,” Tiffert tells me. “We are starting on a white sheet of paper every time we go somewhere.”

Up close and personal with the start line gantry, all the wiring built, completed and tested in the run-up to the E-Prix.

“You need a crew which is very experienced in what we do, because you don’t have time to adapt. Certain things you can control when the track is finally finished, but the weekend goes so quick for us that you don’t have time to change on the spot.”

“Now, currently is a bit different because we have double-headers, we had a free practice session on Friday, so there’s a bit more space to, to improve and adjust things.”

Keeping the crew safe

The ExCeL is one of Formula E’s tighter venues, even by the electric series’ standards, with very little room for run-offs, making some corners dangerous for camera operators.

In some areas of the track, Formula E uses the Pan Bar system, as Gillett explains.

“Wherever there’s a TechPro barrier, I’ll have cameras that are using a new remote Pan Bar system,” he says.

“We anticipate that where the TechPro is, the wall could move up to three meters, so it unfortunately isn’t safe enough for a camera operator to be standing.”

“If I’ve got a head on shot, the camera operator is not standing there, there’s a camera head there and the lens.”

“The operator is standing five metres on the other side of that fence, in a completely safe location, operating with a Pan Bar system remotely.”

Gillett mounts cameras in unique locations to get the shot that he is looking for, something that is common for all street circuits that Formula E goes to, but more so with London.

“For example, we’ve mounted camera 4 up nice and high on a truss, allowing it to pan round and get the city skyline and the water.”

Inside Formula E’s international gallery, including all the external angles and on-board cameras. Camera 4 in the screenshot is located towards the bottom in the centre, Camera 17 is the angle with prominent BOSS advertising.

“With camera 17, the operator is in the basket of the cherry picker that’s mounted just over the fence. However, the cherry picker base is on the pavement below next to the canal.”

“There’s no room physically there to build a scaffold, because there’s a roof, and for other shots you’re up against the water. There are a lot of fiddly things like that, more machinery, more specialist camera equipment and remote heads to cover this event,” he says.

Reflecting on the first part of the weekend, Gillett was “quite happy” with how things had gone so far.

“Generally, I can visualise it [the camera positions] beforehand, I think that’s our skill set, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so can visualise it well. We’re in pretty good shape,” he believes.

“It’s rare that I change things when we’re on-site. I’m actually quite happy with this, I think the track coverage works quite well.”

“Obviously, I’m always trying to strive for getting as much speed, show the driving styles, show the rear of the car sliding, show the drivers racing, but also showing the cities.”

“It’s finding that balance between like wide shots and close up low action stuff.”

Gillett believes that the indoor section of the circuit will be even better once all COVID restrictions have lifted, hoping that a packed grandstand will add to the atmosphere.

Currently scheduled to begin in January, season 8 will take in 12 locations across 16 races, with new events in South Africa, China, Canada. The season finishes in August 2022, heading to South Korea for the inaugural Seoul E-Prix.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.

Behind the scenes with Formula E’s television production team

For the past seven years, Formula E has raced on city streets around the world, from Beijing back in 2014, all the way through to Berlin last month.

The 2020-21 season was the most competitive in the championship’s history, with Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries clinching the title by 7 points in the season deciding round.

The nature of the championship has presented challenges for North One Television and Aurora Media Worldwide, who produce Formula E’s television offering under the FE TV banner.

We caught up with the team in London to see how the championship makes its way to fans watching around the world…

The high-level geographical setup

As well as the complexities caused by racing around the streets of cities such as Rome, Paris and London, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused extra issues for the TV production.

During normal times, most top-tier sports keep the same ‘core’ production team week in, week out, ensuring that the quality of the output remains the same for the viewer watching.

However, the late cancellation and rearrangement of events has resulted in clashes, meaning it has been harder for the team, led by Formula E’s TV director West Gillett, to keep providing a consistent product to viewers.

“It’s definitely been a harder season for us, not only because of the restrictions, but also because a lot of the crew don’t want to travel, to come home and have to quarantine,” Gillett explains, chatting to Motorsport Broadcasting from the expansive ExCeL Centre, home to the London E-Prix.

“We’ve had to open up our crew to a much bigger pool of people, and to not have that consistency is hard,” he says.

“We’re having to start afresh every time, and that’s been quite tiring, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have the right people in the right places.”

Prior to COVID, around 20 broadcasters brought their own personnel with them on-site, a number that reduced to just 1 when the pandemic hit.

Geographically split across three different locations, Timeline Television’s base in Ealing, West London serves as production base for Formula E’s wrap-around programming and team radio feed.

Timeline supports broadcasters such as Star Sports in India, and CBS in US, as well as other broadcasters who take the English language feed, with 35 people producing content from Ealing.

Al Kamel Systems operate from Barcelona and houses Formula E’s graphics operators. In addition, a team of 100 people, led by Gillett, produce content on-site.

The on-site team produces the race feed, as well as the ‘big screen’ displays around each venue, linking in with both the Ealing and Barcelona bases throughout.

At any one time, the production team have up to 40 different feeds coming into them. For the London E-Prix, Formula E operated 18 track cameras.

In some instances, Gillett positioned cameras on top of scissor lifts and cherry pickers, with Jib cameras also utilised.

Capturing the speed

The external angles have evolved significantly since Formula E’s first race in Beijing 2014, helping to capture the speed of the machinery.

“We were panning quite wide [in Beijing], and we found the cars to be a bit slow. A little trick is to start wide, and then zoom into the car, as it enhances the speed on the pan,” Gillett explains.

“I also bring the cameras closer and lower, as the closer you are to a subject matter when it comes past you, the faster it looks. When you’re much further away, the subject is moving slower across your eye line.”

“It’s finding the right balance, we have the ground level cameras where we need them, to enhance the speed, and then the higher cameras to show the circuit and the corner.”

Inside the Formula E production gallery with director West Gillett.

In addition, Gillett has 6 high-speed mini cameras, 8 on-board camera angles and 6 RF cameras to utilise during the race itself.

With a limited number of on-boards coming through however, there is a risk that incidents further down the field go uncaptured from a close-up angle, as has happened on occasion during season 7.

Gillett relies on the engineers to “choose the on-board that is most relevant at the time, otherwise we’re going to have 24 cameras coming in, which is too much.”

“If [Sebastian] Buemi is chasing [Lucas] di Grassi down, ideally, if di Grassi has a rear facing camera, I’ll have that on and I’ll have Buemi’s forward facing camera on.”

On the team radio front, a professional motor racing driver, believed to be Charlie Butler-Henderson, listens to the incoming feeds from Ealing.

“He is listening to the feeds remotely through the MRTC, which is the same system that the teams listen to. If we’re focussed on a particular subject, he’ll start listening to that driver and bring in anything of relevance,” Gillett tells me.

Like with the on-board angles, the team may miss some of the ‘juicier’ team radio snippets with only one person from the team monitoring the feeds, however, given the length of the races, it would be impossible to fit in every interesting soundbite.

How replays happen

Formula E generates replays from a separate production booth on-location, with four different operators analysing all the available angles for the gallery to play out on the feed.

Gillett explains, “My VT coordinator will select what’s going to be coming each time. For example, if I’ve got a replay of Nyck de Vries, there might be two or three angles.”

“With any replay, the first angle tends to explains what happens, the second angle would be an effects angle and the third angle an onboard. If I’ve got three angles, I start the first one on line A, the second one on line B, the third one on line C.”

The narrative from the production team helps commentators Jack Nicholls and Dario Franchitti decipher what happened with each incident during the race.

Nicholls, who has been lead commentator on most of Formula E’s 84 races, helps both new and existing fans interact with the electric series through his old-school ‘red car, blue car’ commentary style.

“You don’t want to spoon feed people and make people feel patronised. But I think there are ways you can say things that explain, but also inform,” Nicholls believes.

“If I say, ‘there goes the black and gold DS Techeetah,’ I’m explaining to people who don’t know what it is, but I’m also just describing it in terms of, for example, ‘look at that blue sky.’”

“I think it is important to differentiate especially when we have a mixed-up field here, a lot of whom won’t be household names. It’s important to point out who’s who to the viewer, I also struggle to identify drivers in a team,” Nicholls adds.

Sitting next to Gillett in the International Gallery is Formula E’s television Executive Producer Mike Scott, who Gillett calls ‘invaluable’ to the production.

“We’ve worked together for 23 years now, and he’s calling each session,” Gillett says.

“He’s invaluable because he’s looking at the timing and scoring, seeing who’s magenta [fastest] in each sector, and then telling me that I can get to camera X in time to follow the car.”

Formula E ‘one step ahead’ in innovating

While some aspects of the production have their limitations, Formula E have also innovated their offering through Driver’s Eye, Attack Mode and their full-screen ‘wipes,’ helping their coverage to stand out.

“The [Driver’s Eye] technology works on an RF frequency, coming down one of our on-board lines to us. Over time, we’ve tried different lenses to see [the effect it would have].”

On-board via Driver’s Eye with Porsche’s Andre Lotterer during the Berlin E-Prix.

“We’ve tried some wide lenses, we’ve had some narrower ones, and now it’s got to point where we’ve found which is the right lens for us. We digitise the steering wheel because the teams don’t want us to broadcast it. It really does pop, particularly on low light,” Gillett explains.

“But, it’s a really immersive camera and it’s definitely something Formula E have done well.”

Gillett believes the championship is ‘one step ahead’ on the innovation front, citing the fact that Formula E innovations have since made their way into different championships, such as the driver replay wipes.

“I think the key thing to note is right from the beginning, Formula E have always been pushing the innovation, trying to be one step ahead. We led the way with broadcast graphics.”

“Like, the Safety Car [graphic], it takes over the whole screen, ‘there’s a Safety Car.’ Sometimes people miss the information, so we’ve made it really bold, very clear, and the design of it I think has definitely led the way,” Gillett believes.

“The driver replay wipes, this is something we introduced around four years ago. We’ve done green screens, we cut them all out, with a wipe for each person. It makes it so much simpler; you clearly know, the replay is going to be of Alex Lynn.”

“There is another championship now that’s adopted that, Formula 1, but that was led from Formula E. So, it’s the simple things like that we’ve introduced over the years and the design of it.”

Since Motorsport Broadcasting interviewed Gillett, Driver’s Eye has also made its way over to Formula 1. The camera, homologated by the FIA and manufactured by ZeroNoise, appeared during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

F1’s iteration featured no steering wheel digitisation, putting them ahead of their electric counterparts, something Formula E may wish to review with teams.

With fans returning to motor racing circuits worldwide, Gillett is keen to bring fans closer to the action, and from a broadcasting perspective looking to ‘amplify’ that relationship further as the championship heads into season 8.

“There’s always going to be new ideas, for example with the podiums and things like that. We introduced the sequence with the drivers coming through the crowds to the podium which I really liked.”

“I think that’s something that has been missing this last year and a bit now, and I think that in season 8, I’d like to really amplify that relationship between the drivers and the fans in some way.”

Coming up in part two of this feature, we look at how the ExCeL circuit evolved from concept, to reality.

Contribute to the running costs of Motorsport Broadcasting by donating via PayPal. If you wish to reproduce the contents of this article in any form, please contact Motorsport Broadcasting in the first instance.