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The power of a photo

October 22, 2014

Robert Smith   


Robert Smith, winner of the second challenge of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, talks about his winning concept and the inspiration for it.

Where it all began

As soon as I heard about the second challenge, I knew I wanted to enter. I’m an artist, designer and developer with experience in interface design and user experience, so I couldn’t wait to rise to the challenge and formulate my concept for a MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team digital scrapbook.

In addition to my passion for design, I have been a huge fan of F1 from an early age. When I was little, my sister and I would run around at my father’s workshop on Silverstone circuit, while Senna and Mansell battled it out on the track.

Today, more than ever, I’m blown away by the skill, dedication, community and unpredictability of F1 which continues to draw in audiences of millions. Back in June 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to go and watch the British GP live when Hamilton’s lead was snatched away early in the race due to a tyre incident. I managed to capture a photo of his comeback to claim fourth place which I circulated with my friends.

Not being able to share this photo more widely to F1 fans inspired me to take part of this challenge. It offered a way of making the live F1 experience – and an important part of its history – accessible to remote audiences in a new and vibrant way.

My idea

It can most easily be described as a timeline of explorable “circuit views”, populated with content contributed and curated by fans. Imagine being able to visit every F1 circuit that the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team has competed at.  Fans can navigate the tracks at street level and discover great moments contributed by fellow fans, before adding a bit of their own history to the story of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. I’m excited to see how the scrapbook could grow from fan contributions to build a unique F1 historical source.

As with any project, the process wasn’t always plain sailing. The greatest challenge was the state of the tracks and resources required to document them. Some of today’s tracks are already documented in a usable fashion, but ones from the 1950s, like Circuit Bremgarten, just don’t exist anymore – meaning an alternative had to be devised. That being said, researching these tracks became one of the most satisfying parts of the challenge – every cloud….

So if you’re reading this blog and think you have an idea that could transform the fan experience – I’d strongly advise you to enter the next challenge. From a personal perspective it has offered an outlet for my passion for the sport; and for the wider industry the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize has unleashed an impressive amount of collective creativity which could transform F1 as we know it.

In tomorrow’s post Robert will discuss how innovation could change F1 and what the future of the sport could look like.


Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.