Live streams of F1 now technically possible

Published on 15 Feb 2017 09:50

Formula 1 is reportedly ready to broadcast live races via the Internet following a test conducted at the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix. F1 is considering using this method to broadcast the sport in the future due to an increase of 'cable-cutting' - people cancelling paid TV subscriptions in order to view races online.

F1 makes no profit from these current online streams, and Bernie Ecclestone was against such ideas to broadcast races online. However with Liberty Media's takeover set to change the face of F1, we could be seeing races live over the Internet in the future.

The main concern with the test was minimizing the delay from what was happening on track to what viewers would see on the stream, but F1 now has the technology available to proceed comfortably with the method.

"One of the challenges that OTT has faced in the past is that what you see on your television versus what you see on your iPad or phone would not be synced up," Tata's managing director of F1 business, Mehul Kapadia told Autosport.

"That was the one big technology challenge that we have worked on solving, and demonstrating that we can do it. This was something we ran at the Singapore race and I would say the technology is now there to do it."

However, current TV commercial rights are tight and there will not be an immediate transition from TV to Internet streams.

"It is a commercial challenge about whether sports franchises want to directly reach to consumers and then not have the scale that comes to them from broadcasters," admits Tata's Kapadia.

"Whether you are watching football, F1 or cricket, the entertainment value is coming from being immersive and closer to the sport. We are looking at a 360-degree digital transformation that is going to happen, and all of it catering for fans."


Fergal Walsh

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