There was a report this week that Virtual Reality would change the way Formula One is viewed across the world, and with the first generation devices just coming onto the market it would be a good step for the sport to be the first on the scene.
First though you have to consider what would work best for the sport as a whole though as there are two similar, but also very different technologies at play. Augmented Reality (AR) is the ability to see the world around you, augmented by useful additions to either describe, enhance or supplement the real world. Virtual Reality is something different, it’s a virtual world made to look like it is a real world, transporting you to a different place.
When you think of Formula One coverage, the instant reaction would be how great Augmented Reality would be, adding additional information to explain and inform the viewer. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to see statistics attached to each car in real time – gaps to the car in front, or the tyre choice, number of pit stops, fuel level – the options are limitless. Once the technology has been developed, wouldn’t be great to wear a headset to a race with a wireless connection to make following trackside easier.
Virtual Reality is something different and will bring in a new form of gaming, a real immersive experience with the feeling you are actually in the car driving. Yes, you could say that gaming is almost there, and yes will be there sooner than Augmented Reality, but still it is extremely important in promoting the sport. Gaming will be just as popular as the racing it is there to promote.
This might be years away, but the first generation products like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift are just being made available for sale. It would be good for F1 to be on the leading edge for this, as it could well be the technology of the future.