Tata Communications has awarded its 50,000 dollar Formula 1 prize this year to a virtual reality innovation which transports racing fans from anywhere in the world to the middle of live Grand Prix action.
Tata Communcations' 2016 F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize is aimed at inspiring fans worldwide to harness technical know-how and passion for F1 racing and drive innovation in the sport.
This year's winner comes from Singapore, Datu YogaBrata, who was presented a bespoke trophy by racing star Lewis Hamilton during a ceremony at the 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on Friday.
"It is great to be a part of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize and to see first-hand fans become part of the F1 action in real time, in addition to watching it on their TV or phone," Hamilton said.
"The winning solution, from Datu YogaBrata gives us a glimpse of what the future of F1 could look like and how we will be able to share so much more of our race weekend at the track with people at home. I would love it as a fan!" Hamilton said.
Tata Communications is the official connectivity provider to Formula 1 and the official managed connectivity supplier of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
"We created the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize to show the immense potential of virtual reality and other technology advancements to transform the sporting experience," said Julie Woods-Moss, chief marketing and innovation officer, Tata Communications.
"These disruptive ideas from fans that are powered by data and superfast connectivity continue to inspire and excite us for the future of F1," Julie said.
YogaBrata beat stiff competition from five other finalists. His innovation is a live, 360-degree virtual trackside experience that transports fans to the Grand Prix world.
The ultra-immersive VR application is enabled by a group of roaming commentators with wearable cameras, capturing the excitement of the trackside to make fans thousands of miles away feel like they are part of the action.
The application also harnesses augmented reality (AR), encouraging fans to collect "hidden stars" at the trackside, and enabling them to seamlessly glean additional insights on their favourite driver, team car, or anything else they see around them in the virtual Grand Prix environment.
The judging panel consisted of drivers and F1 technologists and the winner as well as five runners-up won VIP trips to the 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.