BBC Formula 1
Head of Interactive and Formula 1: Ben Gallop
Producer: BBC Sport
The challenge: To put digital innovation at the heart of the BBC's F1 coverage
Formula 1 is back - with a bang. Tycoons flashing their chequebooks, political rows, accusations of lying, controversy over technology - and that's before you even get to the action on the track.
The last time F1 was on BBC TV screens was back in 1996 and it's fair to say that quite a bit has changed in our industry in the intervening years. Back then there was no BBC website, interactive TV was a pipedream and mobile media was in its infancy.
ITV did a great job of broadcasting F1 for 12 years, taking the sport to a new level. The challenge for us has been how to follow that and put our own stamp on it.
F1 has always been a marriage between sport and technology, so this return was an opportunity for BBC Sport to reinvent our cover-age for the digital age.
If the main BBC1 output would appeal to general sports fans, then the red button was quickly identified as a way to give hardcore F1 followers the chance to become more immersed in the action.
Our interactive TV team created an onboard option, utilising the best shots from cameras on the cars. Viewers are able to choose from a range of audio options, including the ever-popular Radio 5 Live output and an alternative CBBC commentary, while a post-race forum puts our new talent team on the spot for some in-depth analysis.
For online, we built on the successful live experience that we offered for the Athens Olympic Games, bringing together all of the various video options along with text commentary and interactivity.
But F1 is about more than just the live coverage of the Grand Prix itself. The aim was that the website would effectively act as the 24/7 ‘home' of the sport, with all the latest news from BBC Sport as well as headlines from other sites.
Digital content provider Monterosa created some fantastic Flash 3D track guides, giving users the opportunity to drive each circuit with Red Bull's Mark Webber.
And we wanted blogs to play a central role on the site, with personal insights from presenter Jake Humphrey and commentator Jonathan Legard, as well as video blogs from F1 legend Murray Walker following each race.
So far, the emphasis on the web and interactive seems to be paying off. As one viewer put it after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix: “I was always a fan of Jenson Button. Now I'm a fan of the red button ...”
Formula 1 airs on Sundays until November on BBC1.