Sport organisers and teams are continually looking at new ways to engage their audiences and attract new fans. Growing in popularity is the use of virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video as a means of getting viewers closer to the action, making for a far more entertaining experience. And it seems as though Formula 1 (F1) is taking this embrace of 360 technology very seriously, as it’s been reported all 2018 F1 cars will have a 360-degree camera on board.
In a tweet by Tobi Grüner – the F1 reporter for German website AMuS – he says that 360-cameras will become mandatory on cars, mounted on the front chassis. While he doesn’t mention which cameras these might be, from the image given below it certainly looks like a 360fly device, and being F1 it’s more than likely the 4K version.
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) November 24, 2017
With the current news in F1 dominated by the new Halo device which is going to be fitted to cars next year in a bid to improve driver safety, having an additional ball like device right in front of their heads may not please most drivers. Whether the above design is just a prototype is unclear. As the 360fly features just one lens the device might be slightly sunken into the chassis for a more streamlined design – and less likely to fling off and hit something. This will still give a 360 view, you just wouldn’t be able to look down as much.
For fans on the other hand, this inclusion would mean a whole new way to enjoy F1 depending on how it’s implemented. The first thought would be livestreaming – imagine watching the entire race from the front of Lewis Hamilton’s car – although that maybe a few years off due to the challenge of broadcasting 360 footage from 20 cars at the same time.
The cameras could be used by commentators and broadcasters, switching to a 360 shot as and when they chose to. The most likely scenario to begin with will be after race footage, with F1 either releasing YouTube videos or content via a specific app.
Whatever happens, as soon as VRFocus finds out more we’ll let you know.