Amid the glitz and glamor of Formula 1’s global presence, there’s a lesser-known location that plays a vital role in bringing the sport to millions of screens worldwide. Nestled in a small town near London, away from the spotlight, the revamped Biggin Hill facility has evolved into the Media and Technology Centre (M&TC), becoming the heartbeat of F1’s broadcasting and content production TV Complex. Let’s take a peek inside!
The Hub Beyond the Head Office
Previously known primarily for its airport, this unassuming location has transformed into a powerhouse TV complex of media and technology. The M&TC is where F1’s rich content is curated and distributed, reaching over 180 territories worldwide. From hosting events to acting as a broadcast campus, office space, and storage facility, the M&TC serves as a hub for F1’s vast operations.
A Remarkable Broadcast Gallery
The complex’s sprawling gallery filled with screens captures the world feed director’s attention, ensuring every broadcaster has the right pictures at the right time. It’s here that the intricate work of F1TV, the series’ streaming service, takes place. With banks of desks and screens, the team meticulously clips replays, creates highlights, and supports the broadcasts, contributing to F1’s global reach.
Unveiling the Technical Marvels
The M&TC is a bustling hive of activity during race weekends, with around 140 experts tirelessly managing the behind-the-scenes operations at the TV complex. The Event Technology Centre (ETC), connecting the track footage to the M&TC, employs an additional 75 staff. In an era prioritizing sustainability and data efficiency, tasks have migrated from the track to the M&TC, reducing the need for travel. The facility handles a staggering 500TB of data per race, a testament to its significance in F1’s operations.
Where the Magic Comes to Life
Walking through the TV complex facility, the journey leads to intriguing aspects of F1’s production. From the mind-boggling team radio department to sound studios and telemetry galleries, each space is designed to bring the viewer closer to the action. The telemetry area feeds critical data used in F1TV apps and broadcasts. Cutting-edge studios, reminiscent of iconic sports broadcasts, provide diverse programming, from technical explanations to race analysis.
Preserving Tradition Amid Innovation
While the M&TC thrives on cutting-edge technology, it also preserves F1’s heritage. An R&D department tests advanced technologies, including onboard cameras and specialized microphones. The T-cam above the roll hoop captures breathtaking footage and transmits it via antennas around the circuit. This TV complex facility also safeguards historical artifacts, including T-cams from infamous crashes, highlighting F1’s enduring history.
Ferrari has long been one of Formula 1’s superpowers, but it seems that everything is falling apart. This iconic racing team is in danger of being left behind by the competition this Formula 1 season.
Perhaps the problems on the track for Ferrari stem all the way back to the team’s 2019 engine. Since Ferrari’s power unit was investigated by the FIA in 2019, former F1 driver Martin Brundle believes the team has lost significant power.
Although the investigation findings were kept private, Ferrari has been off the pace after making the enforced adjustments to their power unit. Ferrari may have come into the 2020 Formula 1 season hoping for better results, but it has been a largely miserable opening two races so far.
Follow the Leader
From a Ferrari perspective, the 2020 F1 season doesn’t look to be a promising one. Although it’s only two races in, Ferrari’s cars appear much slower than both Mercedes and Red Bull. Of course, having the two Ferrari drivers take each other out in the Styrian Grand Prix didn’t give the team a chance to see how their engine performed.
Brundle, speaking after the Styrian Grand Prix, believes Ferrari is not only lacking in the power unit department but also the aero and chassis. Considering this season will be a condensed one, it seems unlikely Ferrari will be able to solve its problems before 2021.
Ferrari supplies engines to several other F1 teams, but none of them managed to finish in the points either. This is the first time since Mexico 2015 that a Ferrari-powered car hasn’t taken a single point in an F1 race.
The future doesn’t look too bright for Ferrari at the moment. After Leclerc took both himself and his teammate out of the Styrian Grand Prix, Ferrari will hope it was just a blip and not a sign of things to come.