Formula One Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds has revealed that the sport is using innovative methods to improve the spectacle of racing, including measuring the emotions of fans during a Grand Prix.
The 2019 season had its high and low moments, with the French race generally considered to be one of the worst of the season, while the schedule during the summer, including the rain-lashed German Grand Prix, were seen as real highlights.
In a bid to ensure that there are more memorable moments and less that are forgettable, Formula One are studying the effect that certain aspects of the sport have on the viewer in a rather dystopian style.
“We have people wired up while they’re watching races and we look at their galvanic skin response, we look at their emotions while they’re watching races, and from that we’re starting to understand a lot of the things that are important," said Symonds, speaking at Autosport International.
“A Safety Car is a very good example. The Safety Car sometimes enlivens a race, sometimes it kills a race. By looking at all of these various research areas that we’re doing, we can really start to build a picture of what makes good racing.”
Symonds also believes that a new technical group created to develop the 2021 regulations is an improvement on the old system where teams had a large say in the design direction.
“We’ve set a new precedent. It’s not been done before, but at the same time we did engage with the teams,” said Symonds. “All the way along we were giving regular updates to the teams, to a series of aerodynamic working groups. More importantly, what we were doing is we were issuing the CAD models of our 2021 car at regular intervals.
“We were asking the teams to investigate them and to look at specific things. Eight of the ten teams did an awful lot of work on it and so we were engaged all the way along.
“I think it’s absolutely fundamental that we had this independent group. If you work for an individual team, you’re paid to win races, you’re paid to exploit performance, you’re paid to find those loopholes in the rules and everything.
“So, it’s really unfair to expect the teams to look above that and look at what’s good for the sport, whereas we all work for the commercial rights holder. We absolutely are focused on what is good for the sport, what makes a good race.
“You’d be amazed at the amount of analysis that we’re doing on that.”
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