A pilot program commenced at the Austrian Grand Prix, where F1 began testing the presentation of two drivers’ heart rates at each F2 event.
The new TV graphic, representing Intensity Level, is broadcasted on the race feed.
The experiments in F2 are understood to be a trial to determine if the technology is mature and adaptable for F1 application.
Nevertheless, F1 recognises that beyond the technology’s technical facets, drivers might have reservations about their personal data being publicly shared.
Concerns also arise that rivals could potentially gain an advantage if broadcasts reveal their heart rate surging.
F1’s Technical Producer, Justin Laurie, in a discussion with F1 Flow.com, acknowledged the need to consider some unique sensitivities before deploying the technology.
“Undoubtedly, we need to exercise editorial discretion while presenting this data,” he stated. “It must be appropriately represented and narrated. Every driver is unique, and everyone is physically different, which we need to factor in when deciding on using this data. However, it’s an exciting new frontier for us.”
Laurie implied that if teams could derive any advantage from scrutinising a rival’s heart rate data, it could motivate their driver to push even harder.
“There’s always a chance that this might happen,” Laurie added. “I’m aware that the teams monitor the screens and what’s happening. Every piece of information could potentially offer an advantage.
“We need to tread carefully, aiming to strike the right editorial balance. But primarily, the goal is to provide the audience with fresh insights into the drivers’ experiences. We’ll see where this takes us, particularly for F1.”
He also noted that what is seen in the F2 package may not be the final product for F1 as the technology and data are still under development. “Our hope is that this new data will spark more engagement and exhilaration for track moments.”
Frederik Vesti, the F2 championship leader and one of the drivers chosen for the technology trial in Austria, commented on how intriguing it was to observe the data’s application.
“I saw a brief segment of the race where my heart rate climbed as I was overtaking,” he said after the Austria race. “It’s fascinating.
“Although further refinement is needed for the feel of it, I think it’s a promising start. I believe it’s a valuable addition for fans. They can witness the pressure we’re under, both physically and mentally. And it’s portrayed quite effectively.”
Laurie said F1 had been enthused by the initial responses to the new graphic, with the intention to continue testing throughout the season.
“The feedback was largely positive,” he reported. “It required considerable internal effort to achieve the outcome. We tested it on two drivers [Vesti and Theo Pourchaire].
“We aim to expand this a bit in F2 if possible, then advance towards F1. Hopefully, it will create a momentum to implement it for F1 drivers in the future. That’s our ultimate objective.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Heart Rate Display in F1
What new technology is being trialed at F2 events?
F1 is experimenting with a new technology that displays the heart rates of two drivers at each F2 event, using a new TV graphic called Intensity Level.
What is the purpose of these F2 experiments?
The experiments are being conducted to see if the heart rate display technology is ready and can be adapted for use in F1 races.
Are there any concerns with this new technology?
Yes, there are concerns. Beyond the technical aspects of heart rate monitoring, F1 has acknowledged potential issues with drivers not wanting their personal data broadcast publicly. There is also a concern that rivals might gain an advantage if they can see a driver’s elevated heart rate during broadcasts.
What are F1’s future plans for this heart rate display technology?
F1 plans to continue testing and refining the heart rate display technology in F2 races. The ultimate goal is to use this technology in F1 races to provide audiences with new insights into a driver’s experience and increase engagement.
What was the response to the first use of this new heart rate display technology?
According to Justin Laurie, F1’s Technical Producer, the initial responses to the new graphic were encouraging. The tests will continue for the remainder of the campaign with the intention to expand its use in F2 and ultimately deploy it for F1 drivers.