For the past two years, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has been testing a helmet model with an on-board camera to produce images that are more representative of racing and driver performance. Filming the F1 Grands Prix as close as possible to reality is indeed a real challenge and the means implemented are generally expensive and complex (helicopters, cameras fixed on the cars, on the bend rope, etc.). But this mini on-board camera could well be a game-changer.
New images for a growing craze
Far from the clichés, Formula 1 attracts more and more viewers, with 1.5 billion recorded in 2021. Strongly pushed by the docu-series Drive To Survive broadcast on Netflix, this competition reaches a wider audience, fond of beautiful images and thrills. The new module designed by Racing Force Group should provide what is needed in terms of immersion and sensation by getting as close as possible to what the pilot sees.
Like a smartphone sensor built into the helmet
With a diameter of only 8 mm, this camera is placed directly on the foams inside the helmet. This therefore does not risk compromising the effectiveness of the protection, as a conventional action-cam would do. Indeed, even as an amateur, it is forbidden to stick a camera to your helmet on the circuit, as this generates a support which can damage it and lead to serious injuries in the event of an accident. Safety is also a major concern for the FIA. The camera must not represent any risk for the driver, knowing that official races are more accident-prone than training sessions.
The models tested so far seem to film up to Full HD, but we can hope in the near future to shoot 4K images from the hell of F1 GPs. One of the biggest flaws, however, is the lack of stabilization. If we realize the jolts and movements felt in an F1, the immersive experience is not the most pleasant to watch.
We hope that this type of innovation will quickly join the Moto GP circuits and other motorcycle races. And perhaps land for the general public with an integrated dashcam solution that is less restrictive than the sports cameras fixed on the helmet.
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