Ross Brawn & Lewis Hamilton crown F1 Innovation Prize 2018 winner

Formula 1 Managing Director of Motorsports, Ross Brawn, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton have today crowned James Gough as the winner of this year’s F1 Innovation Prize.

Winning the grand final ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, the British entrant takes home the $50,000 prize after beating tough competition from around the globe. This is also the first time an idea will be incubated and made into a prototype at Formula One’s Media & Technology centre.

With this year’s contest being themed “My F1”, entrants were tasked with creating the ultimate customised viewing experience using the sports’ unique set of human, mechanical and technical data.

As well as Hamilton and Brawn, this year’s judging panel consisted of Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of Tata Communications’ F1 business, as well as Roberto Dalla, Managing Director of Broadcasting and Technical Operations, Formula 1; Technical Director of Mercedes, James Allison; and former F1 Driver and commentator, Martin Brundle.

The winning idea is a Virtual Smart Assistant.  The app, which functions as a fan’s personal F1 guide, provides seamless, instant access to insights on each driver, team, car, practice session, qualifying or race-on-demand.

Not only is the proposed solution integrated with existing smart assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, it is also equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. So, the more a fan uses the Virtual Smart Assistant, the more it learns about their preferences, customising the information it offers accordingly.

“I’ve been a huge fan of F1 since I was a teenager, but never in a million years did I think that one day I’d get the chance to be part of the F1 circus – that’s why winning means so much to me,” said James Gough.

“Through my app, I want other fans to get a glimpse of being on the inside of the sport they love. I hope that my idea will help give fans access to all the data they want, and that they’re able to use the data to not only see what’s happening but to understand why it happened. It should lead to more people getting involved in the sport.”

“We want to break down the barriers of language and technical know-how so that more people around the world are able to immerse themselves in the greatest sporting spectacle on earth,” said Ross Brawn.

“Through new features like the Halo graphics and live events like our F1 Festival series, we’re continually looking for ways to bring more fans closer to the sport. That’s exactly what James’ winning idea seeks to do too in a truly innovative way. I look forward to seeing his concept come to life in our Media & Technology Centre.”

“This is such an exciting time for the sport, with more and more ways for people around the world to get close to the world of F1 – through social media, online, and of course the F1 Innovation Prize,” said Lewis Hamilton.

“There’s so much happening at any given second during a race. James’ idea was my favourite because it lets both die-hard fans and those who might be new to the sport make sense of it all and really immerse themselves in the action.”

Title image: Motorsport Images

Remaining Images: Tata F1 Innovation Prize