Racing to get More Immersive as 360 Cameras Could Become Mandatory on F1 Cars

You could be watching the 2018 season from the nose of a F1 car.

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.

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.

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