A new Formula 1 app that will integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and plans to help people get instant answers about the sport, is now in development thanks to an idea by James Gough. The lifelong F1 fan’s concept was announced as the winner of this year’s F1 Innovation Prize at last week’s United States Grand Prix in Austin.
The competition, which was a joint initiative by Tata Communications, F1 and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, asked for ideas for how Formula 1 could customize experiences and better engage fans. “We want to break down the barriers of language and technical know-how so that more people around the world are able to immerse themselves in the greatest sporting spectacle on earth,” said Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsports, in an announcement. “That’s exactly what James’ winning idea seeks to do too in a truly innovative way. I look forward to seeing his concept come to life in our Media & Technology Centre.”
Gough’s idea plans provide on-demand insights about any aspect of Formula 1, including drivers, teams, fans, and races, and to use artificial intelligence to learn and adapt to each fan’s preferences. As well as seeing his concept turned into a real app, Gough also won a $50,000 prize.
“Through my app, I want other fans to get a glimpse of being on the inside of the sport they love,” Gough said in the announcement. “I hope that my idea will help give fans access to all the data they want, and that they’re able to use the data to not only see what’s happening but to understand why it happened. It should lead to more people getting involved in the sport.”
Formula 1 joins a growing list of sports organizations that creating smart assistant to try to better engage with fans. In May, MiLB and Satisfi Labs launched bilingual AI assistants to answer fan questions on game days for a handful of teams, and in August CBS Sports integrated Google Assistant with fantasy football advice. Google Assistant has even featured in the broadcast booth during the MLB playoffs.