Sky Sports F1’s live coverage of the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session featured some interesting lines, both from Sky’s F1 team and Formula 1’s chairman Chase Carey. Carey was a guest in Sky’s commentary box for the last 30 minutes of their practice coverage.
Carey, along with Sky F1 commentator David Croft, revealed that a new Formula 1 logo will be unveiled on Sunday, possibly straight after the final race of the 2017 season. Carey said “We want to provide a fresh energy to the sport, we thought the new logo was a great way to emphasise that.”
The current logo, dubbed as ‘flying F1‘ will appear for the final time this weekend. It was first introduced in 1987, and was designed by Carter Wong. The logo was eventually rolled out across the full product by 1994. One half of the team, Phil Carter spoke to graphic design site Seven Feet Apart in the Summer, and said:
“We wanted to capture that energy and excitement of Formula One and we’d been playing around with the ‘F’. Then there was the realisation that with a little bit of manipulation, we had the left half of the one. The lines of speed formed the other half of the one.”
“After 2 or 3 seasons, the marque became established. People now know it and it’s one of the most recognised brand symbols in the world. It doesn’t need changing – it still does exactly what it needs to.”
Liberty Media disagree with that last sentence, and under the Formula One Group guise have logged three new prospective logos with the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO), all of which garnered negative feedback via social media channels. It is unknown which of the three logos will become the official logo, or whether the three logos will serve different purposes. Or, it is possible that we have not yet seen the new logo yet…
Fans have praised Liberty Media this season for their interaction with fans both at the circuit, and on social media. An example of this is via Reddit, where an account controlled by Formula One Management has been asking fans for their opinions on key matters, such as the Safety Car procedure.
Not once, across any medium has discussion turned to a new logo. Has Liberty Media conducted any user research into what a new logo should or should not look like? It feels like the design and implementation of the logo has been completed on a whim without consultation.
Besides the usual corporate jargon, the main reason I imagine is to detach the previous Formula 1 with the current and future Formula 1 from a marketing perspective, and creating a new logo helps in that respect. Personally, I have no problem with creating a new identity, but I do have a problem with a logo that looks amateur and out-of-place for a world-class global brand.
A logo should be memorable and synonymous with what the sport represents. The best option would be to tweaks to the current logo, in my view. If Liberty Media wishes to be transparent and give fans a say, this is not the way to do it. I am willing to be proven wrong, and I still hope the new logo looks better on television than as a still image, but I am unconvinced.
Elsewhere during Sky’s coverage of practice, it was heavily hinted that live coverage of testing will be returning for 2018. Sky’s pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz referred to testing coverage, noting that whilst plans are still to be confirmed, initial ideas are “interesting” and that David Croft is going to be spending time next February and March “standing in a commentary box”. The last time Sky aired testing coverage live was in 2013, as part of their effort to drive attention towards their 3D offering.
The idea of live coverage of testing returning in some form fits in with Formula 1’s plans for an over-the-top service, widely reported recently but not yet officially confirmed. If you want an over-the-top service, you need to produce the content alongside that to draw fans in, and enhanced coverage of testing fits that box. Whilst the phrase “live coverage” was not explicitly stated, you certainly get the impression that is the direction where testing coverage is heading.
Earlier this year, during the 2017 pre-testing season, Formula One Management made an effort to showcase more on-track action via social media, such as on-board footage. The commercial rights holder also lifted a variety of restrictions that were previously in place, allowing teams to film from the paddock and pit lane.