When it comes to ingenuity Formula E are continually expanding fan experiences of the race series and Drivers Eye is no exception.
Formula E’s first fan engagement idea was the highly critiqued idea of Fanboost. Fanboost allows the fans to vote for your favourite drivers to give them an extra power boost in the race. The purpose of Fanboost is to allow the fans to have an opportunity to directly affect the outcome,e of the race. The next idea Formula E had was allowing the fans to listen to all drivers’ radios through the Formula E app. Now they have introduced Drivers Eye which allows fans to become immersed in the action even more.
In the third race of the season in Santiago, Drivers Eye was introduced and debuted, Formula E is branding it ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘immersive’. Drivers Eye gives you the same view all the drivers have from the cockpit, all through a small camera which has been added to the inside of their helmets.
Now Indycar also has a driver eye camera angle, but their GoPro cameras are mounted to the helmet, whereas Formula E has placed the camera inside the helmet. Therefore, you get a completely different view of the race in Formula E compared to Indycar.
In Indycar, the camera picture is crystal clear, and you get an amazing sense of the challenges and thrills of being a race car driver. However, as the Drivers Eye camera in Formula E is placed inside the helmet the camera quality is hampered slightly due to the camera also going through the visor of the driver rather than being mounted to the top of the helmet. But why in our opinion that Formula E’s Driver eye is “groundbreaking” is because you are feeling the drivers head move much more than the Indycar solution. therefore, you begin to even more appreciate the challenges that these divers face on these incredibly bumpy circuits.
This new addition is also a brilliant way of having fans feel more involved and virtually experience something many will not be able to in real life.
In sports, it is not uncommon for fans to want to either play it or participate at some level within the sport. This is easy if you are a football fan, a rugby fan, or a fan of American football. You can find your nearest club and join, or even just buy a ball and mess around in your free time.
Unfortunately, and not unsurprisingly, it is not that simple for a Formula E fan to jump in a car and have a drive in it. You would probably need to win the lottery and pay someone a lot of money for that to happen or become a professional racing driver, which is not a simple and easy option. This is where Drivers Eye becomes fans closest chance of experiencing what it feels like. You can almost live out your dreams to be a racer through the tv. Or see if you have the nerve to actually do what these drivers do each weekend.
Drivers Eye also shows off the individuality of drivers too. You get a better understanding of how each driver has different styles. A good example of this is Felipe Massa, from his Drivers Eye you can see he moves his head around considerably more than Stoffel Vandoorne for example, Massa is continuously looking up and down and checking his dash. During the Santiago E-Prix, Vandoorne was shown to be looking ahead most of the time but constantly checking his mirrors. In addition, fans also get an insight into how much speed each driver carries into corners and how early or late they are braking.
The positives do not stop just with fans of racing though. Drivers Eye is the perfect thing to show people who inevitably say ‘racing is not a proper sport’ or ‘it’s just driving a car around a track’. The point of view of the driver shows how tough and physical a race can be.
A lot of people outside of the sport do not understand how much goes into a race mentally as well. Drivers Eye shows all the different elements drivers have to focus on during a race. You can see them looking around the dashboard, who’s in front and behind them, looking in their mirrors, checking their energy levels, listening to their team over the radio all whilst trying to be the quickest and secure the most points they can.
One thing which is very noticeable in the view of the driver is the halo. When the halo was first introduced, a concern which was brought up was around visibility. Despite these concerns, Drivers Eye shows that it does not impede the driver’s vision or visibility of other cars around them.
Despite singing all the praises of Drivers Eye, there are a few elements which could be improved. The quality of the camera is noticeably lower quality than other shots being used but this is to be expected when you put a tiny camera on the inside of a helmet. However, the stability of the shot is very shaky which after too long of watching can make you feel a bit motion sick, but this just adds to understanding the conditions drivers have to deal with when racing.
With all things considered, for Drivers Eye’s debut in Formula E, it would be unfair to critic it heavily. With all the technology involved in Formula E, over time the quality of the camera and ways the camera angle is used will develop into a higher quality element for the coverage.
For the moment, it is a great new addition for Season six and should prove to be popular with fans as they are immersed further into the madness of Formula E races.