Ross Brawn apologises for failed F1 TV launch
Formula 1's managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn has apologised to fans for the failed launch of F1 TV – the sport’s own over-the-top streaming service which launched at the weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The service, which offers fans the opportunity to watch live sessions, pick from 20 driver onboard cameras and more, costs between £6 and £10 a month ($8-12) depending on the local market, with the ‘Pro’ version only available in select territories.
The launch of the service was delayed from the start of the season in order to conduct ‘beta’ testing during the opening four races, with its public debut set for the Spanish GP.
However users reported on social media that it rarely worked during the weekend, with long buffering screens and a jumpy image the main complaints. On Sunday the service offered up a message saying live coverage of the race would be unavailable.
Brawn admitted the launch didn’t go as planned and apologised.
“Three initiatives made their debut in Barcelona: F1 TV, the Twitter Live Show, and F1 Vision, the most advanced hand-held device on which to follow the race.
“The launch of the former did not go very smoothly, and apologies to our fans, but we are dragging our sport from a place where none of these initiative previously existed and we will get there.
“In some ways that's what Formula 1 is about, a sport where things are developed on the move and on the track with technology that is always cutting edge.”
Formula 1 has offered to refund all users the equivalent of two weeks’ subscription.
Brawn also spoke of other improvements rolled out this season as Liberty Media looks to build the sport’s audience.
“This year we have done a lot of work on improving the TV show, trying new ideas to emphasise the extreme talent of the drivers and make their skills driving the cars look even more exciting.
“We have new camera angles, an all-new graphic design that we are constantly evolving and the new halo graphics which has managed to make the halo less intrusive on television to our viewers and fans,” he explained.
“There's a specially-made microphone placed to enhance the sound of the power units, and we are interviewing the drivers immediately after qualifying, following the heat of the battle. We are doing that after the race too, capturing the emotions of the drivers on screens around the world.
“Then there's social media, which I confess is not a big part of my world, but I do appreciate its importance in reaching new audiences, especially among our younger fans.
“We're in the front line with the aim of unleashing the greatest spectacle on the planet and we want to take you with us.”