F1 News: McLaren Shows Off Innovative Technology – "The Future Of Motorsport Marketing" – Sports Illustrated

While I worry about weight and durability, McLaren are going all in on their partnership with Seamless Digital.
McLaren F1 has partnered with Seamless Digital, and now both British companies will be running new advertising technology this coming Friday and Saturday during the practice sessions of the Austin Grand Prix, and those races that follow. 
Dynamic panels will be fitted each side of the cockpit, and with the onboard cameras aimed towards them, McLaren will be able to actively change the company and branding that's being promoted by the team throughout the race. 
But why is this something that F1 is interested in? Well, money, of course.
The ability to fit even more sponsors on a car throughout a weekend means teams – and the sport – can make more money. For example, in the pits, a car can promote one company. But as soon as it gets onto the grid, it can be promoting a second, programmed remotely from the pit wall. Just imagine… "This overtake is brought to you by [insert brand here]! The best an F1 driver can get."
This is the first time technology like this has been used in motorsport, and with this partnership being solely with McLaren, this has given the team the rights to use it in all of their motorsport endeavours. But there are a few things that spring to mind.
First of all, the obvious: the weight. How can a screen on a racing car, not add unwanted weight? These 2022 cars are already pretty bloated, so adding screens to the side of them surely isn't a good idea? 
The second worry is how reliable and strong they prove to be. I'm not sure they could withstand a stone or debris hitting it at over 100mph. And if one screen is damaged, how does that then affect the revenue of that ad placement?
According to Mark Turner, the founder and CEO, Seamless Digital, they're not worried about this, with his telling the press that they've "cracked the toughest place to innovate. 
He said: “We are delighted to be able to unveil this technology which represents the next step in the future of motorsport marketing.
“Being able to change branding in real-time on a Formula 1 car will give greater flexibility and value to teams and partners. Our technology enables more creative options for brands to communicate situationally relevant messages.
“We have found the perfect partner in McLaren who share our ambition for innovation and breaking convention as pioneers in the fields of technology.
“We believe this is just the beginning of flexible on car branding and motor racing assets.
“By ensuring the technology works on a Formula 1 car we have already cracked the toughest place to innovate and are set to disrupt advertising across F1, motorsport, golf, US sports and ultimately, wider more mainstream use.”
Louise McEwan, McLaren's executive director of Brands & Marketing, also released a statement hinting at how this could overhaul the current promotional abilities of F1 cars. 
“We are pleased to work with Seamless Digital to debut one of the most exciting innovations in digital advertising technology,” she released in a statement.
“Being able to rotate different brands on our cars is a game-changer in this space and we are looking forward to seeing the impact this has on the wider industry.”
I'll be very interested to watch how this works over the coming race weekends and hear what feedback they have. As always, innovations in F1 have often trickled down into the smaller sports, so if this gives lesser known motorsports the opportunity to increase funding – like the W-Series which looks like it needs it – I'm all for it. 


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