By Tara Bal, Head of Communications, NetApp APAC


The F1 buzz is back! With the Grand Prix just around the corner, drivers and teams alike are intensively gearing up for the world racing championship. Of course, this is not without some internal action among the drivers!


Fernando Alonso will miss the opening race in Melbourne after suffering from a concussion during pre-season testing. But rest assured, he is clocking in extra hours in the gym and will be back in full force for the second race in Kuala Lumpur. And how can I miss the Hamilton/Rosberg rivalry? Hamilton finally clinched the championship after a season-long battle in 2014 and this Sunday will mark the third year they are racing together in Mercedes. Rosberg claims the gloves are off and is determined to overtake his team-mate.


Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel has jumped to Ferrari, leaving behind Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and some angry fans. In his pursuit to fulfill his dream of racing for Ferrari, Vettel took a massive risk to switch to the Italian marque. McLaren and Honda are teaming up again and I’m curious to see what advantage the new Honda engines will give the team over Mercedes.


Here at Singapore, NetApp was part of the lead-up to the first race of the season! NetApp’s CTO, Jay Kidd was invited by FOX Sports together with Rick Scurfield (President, NetApp APAC), Karthik Ramarao (CTO, NetApp APAC) and other field experts for a panel discussion on the role of data analytics in F1. Here’s a play-by-play analysis!


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14:00 – Stepping into the studios at FOX Sports. Meeting with the panel and Jason de la Pena, FOX Sports presenter and host of the discussion, for a quick round of introductions. Counting down to the live chat on the POWER of Sports Analytics.


14:20 – Everyone gets to mingle and catch up before the start of the session.


14:40 – The audience takes their position. And we’re off!


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14:50 – Opening: Jason kicks off with the adrenalin-pumping video of Sauber’s partnership with NetApp.


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15:00 – Rick and Jay on stage. Applause. Jay takes pole position and leads with hard-hitting facts on F1 – 10 out of the 20 cars can clock in timings within 1 second of each other at qualifying. There is no room for error – losing 1 point can mean losing millions of dollars in sponsorship.

FACT: 130 sensors on F1 cars capture data such as tire wear, fuel consumption & track conditions.


15:20 – Rick changes the pace and talks about the myriad of wearable tech available for golfers to improve their game nowadays. That must be his secret to getting a handicap of 8.


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15:30 – Karthik brings in the home stretch of the conversation. Sports Analytics makes a foray into consumer sporting goods – golf clubs and tennis rackets even. A sensor in the racket handle and with the latest analytics tool packaged in an app by Sony can turn an amateur into a pro!


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16:00 – FOX International Channels add some weight to the debate as Martyn U’ren Vice President, Advertising Sales Research, showcased the latest technology in game play-analysis to provide viewers a more dynamic and visual rundown on TV.


16:40 – The session comes to an end but wait, it’s not over yet! There is a studio tour where the presenters share tricks of the trade.


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16:50 – PJ Roberts shows us how technology is enhancing the viewing experience and engagement with the audience. Touchscreens allow the pundits to give a play-by-play analysis during half-time. It also allows for more banter between the presenter and pundit!


The futuristic Augmented Reality technology allows pundits to bring the technology in a F1 car to centre stage in 3D.



17:30 – And that is a wrap! Definitely a fuel-pumping session with the FOX Sports Academy. Signing off, this is Tara Bal.

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