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Formula 1 says it will have to be “cautious” in how it handles the live broadcast of drivers’ heart rates if plans to display biometric data are given the go-ahead.
In a trial that began at the Austrian Grand Prix, F1 has begun experimenting with displaying the heart rates of two drivers at every F2 event.
The data is used in a new TV graph, showing the intensity level, which is shown on the race feed.
It is understood that F2 experiments are used to see if the technology is ready and can be adapted for use in F1.
However, beyond the technical aspects of heart rate monitoring, F1 has acknowledged that there can be issues with drivers not wanting their own data released in public.
As well as being a personal matter, drivers might even feel like their rivals can gain an advantage if emissions show their heart rate is at an elevated level.
F1 Technical Producer Justin Laurie told Motorsport.com there were some specific sensitivities that would need to be ironed out before they could be used.
“Obviously there is an element where you have to be editorially careful with how you present this data,” he said. “It has to be presented in the right way and tell the story.
“Every driver is different, and everyone is physically different, so we have to take all of that into account when making these decisions about how we’re going to use this data in the future. But fundamentally it’s a new area. for us and it’s an exciting area. That’s the main thing.”
The Medical Car at the back of the grid for the start
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Laurie said that with teams looking for an edge in anything they can find, analysis of a rival’s heart rate data could be used to help encourage a team’s own driver to push them even further. strong.
“I guess there’s always the possibility that it does,” Laurie added. “I know the teams are watching the screens and watching what is happening. Everything has a benefit, I guess, so every piece of information for a team is useful.
“We’re going to have to play the right way. Hopefully, editorially, we will find the right approach and the right balance. But I think the main thing is to give the audience a new insight into how a driver feels. We’ll see where it takes us, especially for F1.
“What you see on the F2 package may not be what we actually produce for F1. We continue to develop the technology and develop the data. Hopefully this new information will just create more engagement and of excitement for the moments on track.
F2 championship leader Frederik Vesti, who was one of the drivers chosen to use the technology in Austria, said it had been interesting for him to see how the data was used.
“I just watched 10 seconds of the race where I saw my heart rate go up as I was overtaking,” he said after the race in Austria. “I think that’s a pretty cool thing.
“I think there’s a bit more development to do on how it feels when you have it, but I think it’s a really good place to start.
“I think it’s a good addition to be honest, for the fans. They can see what sort of pressure we’re under. It’s not just physical pressure, it’s also mental. And I think that’s the shows quite well.
Laurie said F1 had been encouraged by early responses to the new graphic, with experiments to continue for the remainder of the campaign.
“I think everyone was very positive about it,” he said. “Internally, it took a lot of work to achieve this result. We tried it on two pilots (Vesti and Théo Pourchaire).
“We’re looking to develop that a bit in F2 if we can and then progress to F1. Hopefully that will give us some good momentum to roll it out to F1 drivers in the future. is our goal.