Barely a day before the practice sessions begin at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Formula 1 has announced that it has signed a multi-year strategic collaboration with Tata Communications to be the official broadcast connectivity provider to deliver and enhance a world-class, technologically advanced experience for F1 fans globally.
Demands from fans old and new are certain to be enhanced in the 2022 F1 season after the compelling and controversial conclusion to the 2021 season, when an unprecedented steward’s decision effectively handed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen the championship, to the fury of rival team Mercedes led by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
While many feel this year will once again see the two teams and the two drivers slug it out for supremacy, new challengers may emerge as new regulations have seen the constructors build radically different cars designed with Formula 1’s aim to create more wheel-to-wheel racing and even more excitement. There has also been a big shake-up in the driver seats.
George Russell has moved from Williams to Mercedes, alongside Hamilton. Previous seat holder Valtteri Bottas has moved to Alfa Romeo, and he is harbouring podium aspirations. The Finn is driving alongside rookie Zhou Guanyu, China’s first full-time F1 pilot. Williams has replaced Russell with Alex Albon, the former Red Bull driver, who will be out to prove a point.
As official broadcast connectivity provider to Formula 1, Tata Communications has been charged with ensuring the action is enjoyed in high quality, principally in terms of delivering video contribution by providing global end-to-end managed network services. As part of its role, Tata says it will aim to transform the global motorsport with innovative fan experiences.
It will facilitate the the transfer of more than 100 video feeds and over 250 audio channels to be transmitted between the Grand Prix venue and F1’s Media and Technology Centre in the UK every race weekend in under 200 milliseconds, enabling F1 to broadcast to more than 500 million fans in over 180 territories globally.
Tata’s appointment marks a return for the company as a partner in the world of Formula 1, a situation that has “delighted” Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali, who noted previous successes in such arrangements. “Tata Communications has been an integral part of our growth journey over the last decade, and we completely trust their expertise and abilities to deliver what we need for our fans,” he said. “This trust has been built over many years of working together, pushing forward advancements in technology in sport – on and off the track.”
Recently, in market analyst IDC’s MarketScape for worldwide commercial content delivery network services 2022 vendor assessment, Tata Communications was recognised as a major player, noting work that it had done in developing digital-first media and entertainment services, enabling an end-to-end platform play for immersive fan experiences. It also expanded its bandwidth capacity or media backbone to 100G driving innovations in video, remote production, and more.
And while it believes it can transform the broadcast content production worldwide, Tata said it will also continue to support the sport’s drive for agility and sustainability. The introduction of Formula 1’s remote broadcast operations in 2020 has allowed a 34% reduction in the organisation’s traveling freight, it said.
“As businesses evolve to a digital-first model, I believe the sporting world also has a great opportunity to leverage technology for delivering innovative and exhilarating experiences to motorsport enthusiasts,” added Tata Communications MD and CEO Amur S Lakshminarayanan. “Formula 1 is at the core of all things speed, action and thrill. We are delighted to renew our relationship and empower Formula 1’s tomorrow, today.”