Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The Internet is for awesomeness // Spreading the Formula One word and joining the community together

Published by Bridget Schuil

The Internet is for awesomeness. It’s the only place where we can meet and share ideas in a fast, global way. It’s also a great place to store information – there are millions of servers out there with data that simply dispense it to whomever wants it at that time. I will admit that there’s a lot of junk, but there’s also a whole heap of great community resources – directories of local food producers, websites to jettison/acquire free stuff, and specialist news sites.

Sharing motorsport ideas
Sharing motorsport ideasCredit: Sidepodcast

However, there isn’t much in the way of motorsport or Formula 1. Yes, there are news and opinion articles, but nothing from before the internet. Mr C raised this in the most recent debrief – that there was no download or stream facility for watching old races. The fact that Manish Pandey and Asif Kapadia were able to amass thousands of hours of footage of Ayrton Senna demonstrates that it is available if someone has the patience to trawl through it – and probably pay for it, unless they have superhuman persuasive powers and a good justification.

Likewise, there’s no central streaming site for motorsport. One of the things I’ve noticed in comment threads is the frequency of complaints about stream quality and the lack of ability to find a stream commentated in people’s mother tongues when travelling.

Going back in time

Surely it would be good for each sport’s viewing figures if there was a site where people paid a small fee – if we pay one or two pounds for an e-book, app, or song, would we not also be willing to pay that for a good, advert-free stream with commentary options? It would reduce motorsport to a pay-per-view or pay-per-download facility, but everyone would benefit, especially smaller series' that aren’t broadcast on mainstream TV. The broadcaster who held the rights would get royalties, the contributor would get royalties, the series would get royalties and the fans would have the ability to watch or re-watch anything. Also, sponsors would have exposure through an ongoing medium.

Additionally, with a bit of manipulation, we would be able to cut together using clips of engines vibrating at different frequencies from onboard laps. I’m sure DJ Squire would be up to the challenge if the copyright issues were easier to navigate; a copy of The Chain made using recordings of the old V12 monsters would be mind-blowing.

Finding each other

...the people who have money don’t know about the people who need money

I was told a heart-breaking story the other day by a fan from New Zealand. There are talented Kiwi drivers in the lower formulae in the UK who don’t have sponsorship from home and can’t find UK-based sponsors because they’re foreign. Likewise, there isn’t enough funding in karting in small countries to justify national teams going to the world championships; we’re missing legions of potential championship-winning drivers because the people who have money don’t know about the people who need money.

If we had a community forum, it would be possible to find drivers to sponsor, even if one’s company wasn’t big enough to afford ad space on the rear wing of a Red Bull. Rather like a dating site, except for drivers and race fans – companies would be able to find drivers who they felt represented their interests or appealed to their target market, and vice versa. If individual people could only contribute fifty pounds per month to make sure their man was on the grid – but a few thousand people contributed that – we could still make a difference. Before Senna got a race seat at Renault, I was considering setting up a Support Bruno fund.

One app to rule them all

Why stop there? Why not create an app that integrates everything – a countdown to the next session/race; a playlist of recent events and onboard laps; an archive of old footage; a library of who is sponsored by whom (maybe I’m the only one who wants that; I like to know that sort of information when I’m writing about a driver); a Twitter/Facebook/Google+ feed of team and driver (and reliable news provider) accounts; a real-time stream of individual drivers’ radio transmissions. If you think of the thousands (millions?) of racing fans who would watch more motorsport if it was more convenient, does it not justify investing some time and effort into making accessing it more comprehensive?

If we achieved all of that, imagine the jobs we could create – we would need people to monitor feeds and read news all day (to make sure it was accurate and unbiased), people to digitally re-master and watch items for upload (quality control), people to calculate viewing figures for various events/series/tracks... all those mentally taxing, home-based tasks that only a crazy Formula 1 fan would enjoy. Then the internet really would be for awesomeness.