[WATCH] “THE GREATEST TRACK ON EARTH” ft. Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka, created by Sky Sports, Formula 1 Fans and AI – Kunal's F1 Blog

[WATCH] “THE GREATEST TRACK ON EARTH” ft. Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka, created by Sky Sports, Formula 1 Fans and AI

Sky Sports used AI and FX to create "The Greatest Track On Earth" with inputs from F1 fans

●      Sky Sports polled sports fans on their dream Formula 1® track and ultimate driver ahead of the 2024 season

●      With fans voting in their thousands to have their say, AI has brought to life their favourite straights, corners and chicanes

●      Lewis Hamilton (28%) was picked to be in the driver’s seat to manoeuvre all the twists and turns of the track

●      The Greatest Track features the legendary Parabolica from Monza as well as epic landmarks like the iconic Suzuka ferris wheel in Japan

To celebrate the start of the 2024 Formula 1® season, Sky Sports polled over 4,000 fans on their favourite  straights, turns and landmarks from iconic racing locations around the globe to create the ultimate F1® track.

Ahead of the season opener in Bahrain on Sunday (2 March) exclusively live on Sky Sports and streaming service NOW, cutting-edge AI technology has brought the track to life which features sections associated with some of the most memorable moments in F1® history, from the Swimming Pool chicane and Grand Hotel hairpin turn in Monaco,  to the Senna ‘S’ at Interlagos in Brazil.

With Lewis Hamilton set to depart Mercedes for Ferrari after this season, fans selected the joint-record holding seven-time World Champion, as the ultimate driver in his 2015-2020 Mercedes, a car that won five consecutive titles, to navigate the challenging circuit.

Racing fans also voted on the famous landmarks they would like to feature around The Greatest Track, with the Observation Tower at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin (48%) and the instantly recognisable Suzuka ferris wheel in Japan (48%) topping the poll.

Sky Sports’ electrifying track gives fans the opportunity to experience the spectacle of Formula 1® like never before, with the circuit winding its way through the narrow castle section in Baku (Azerbaijan), as Mount Fuji and torii (Japan) are pictured towering in the distance.

Designed using the most popular fan selections, the track comprises of 10 different circuits that encapsulate the global nature of the sport, with the legendary Eau Rouge of Spa, in Belgium and the uphill climb of Circuit of the Americas’ first straight forming part of the dream track. And, as AI clearly has a sense of humour, Silverstone is displayed in the pouring rain, but with the revered RAF Red Arrows flying overhead to bring some colour to a typical dreary British summer day.

As Lewis Hamilton will no doubt soon experience, the Tifosi bring the passion, so it comes as no surprise Italian fans (39%) were in pole position when people were asked about which nation would bring the most noise and colour to The Greatest Track, with Brits (28%) coming second and the Dutch (11%) ranking high in third.

The 6km track combines real-world imagery and, with the help of AI creative platform Midjourney, more fantastical and computer enhanced elements. As well as the hyper realistic images, Sky Sports has created a spectacular drive-through video, with the footage following a Formula 1® car navigating the track alongside the voice of F1® in David Croft.

The Greatest Track is set to get engines revving ahead of the new season, with the full track comprising the following elements:

  • Straight into turn 1 – Circuit of the Americas, United States
  • Parabolica – Monza, Italy
  • Acque Minerali – Imola, Italy
  • Swimming Pool – Monaco
  • Grand Hotel Hairpin – Monaco
  • Eau Rouge into Raidillon – Spa, Belgium
  • Kemmel Straight – Spa, Belgium
  • Castle Section – Baku City Circuit, Azerbaijan
  • Maggots, Becketts, Chapel Curve – SilverstoneUnited Kingdom
  • Esses– Suzuka, Japan
  • Brabham, Jones – Melbourne, Australia
  • The Senna ‘S’ – Interlagos, Brazil
  • T14 to finish line – Interlagos, Brazil

Sky Sports is the home of F1® in the UK & Ireland as it brings fans 24 action-packed races from across the most glamorous and iconic destinations around the world. The first F1® race weekend of the 2024 season is live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1® & NOW from Thursday, 29th February.

About the corners

1Straight into turn 1 – Circuit of the Americas, USThe ‘Greatest Track on Earth’ starts with the first straight of the Circuit of the Americas into turn one, which offers a thrilling race start with its uphill braking zone, testing drivers’ nerve and skill right from the get-go.
2Parabolica – Monza, ItalyHeading into the second section, the Parabolica, a long, sweeping right hand bend located at the Monza circuit in Italy.
The Colosseum, an iconic Italian landmark, can be seen in the distance beyond raucous Italian fans, with the Tifosi being voted the most passionate fans on the international circuit.
3Acque Minerali – Imola, ItalyAcque Minerali at the Imola circuit in Italy, aptly named after the nearby mineral springs, is the third section and boasts a scenic backdrop that adds to its timeless charm, enchanting both drivers and spectators alike.
4Swimming Pool – MonacoHeading to the jewel in F1’s crown, Monaco. The Swimming Pool is the fourth section with the harbour and Mediterranean Sea in clear view.
5Grand Hotel Hairpin – MonacoStaying in Monaco, the fifth section features Formula 1®’s slowest and tightest corner, the Grand Hotel Hairpin,
6Eau Rouge into Raidillon – Spa, BelgiumOne of the most fabled corners on the circuit, Eau Rouge at Spa in Belgium is named after a 15km long stream which runs alongside the circuit.
7Kemmel Straight – Spa, BelgiumStaying in Spa in Belgium, ‘The Greatest Track On Earth’ then features the Kemmel Straight as its seventh section. Surrounded by the Ardennes Forest, the section is known for its challenging conditions and unpredictable weather which adds an extra layer of drama!
8Castle Section – Baku City Circuit, AzerbaijanThe Castle Section at Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan is up next as the 1.4 mile stretch boasts the narrowest point teams visit throughout the year and provides a difficult challenge for even the most experienced drivers. Silverstone’s iconic Red Arrows and Suzuka’s Ferris wheel can be seen in the distance (that’s AI for you!)
9Maggots, Becketts, Chapel Curve – SilverstoneApproached at around 185mph, Silverstone’s fastest and most iconic sequence of corners is the ninth section of the track. The Maggots, Becketts and Chapel Curve corners take their names from the medieval chapel of St Thomas Beckett and, to add to the quintessentially British affair, Red Arrows can be seen flanking the track.
10Esses – Suzuka, Japan‘The Greatest Track On Earth’ heads to Suzuka, Japan, with the Esses series of corners set against a typically Japanese scene of blossom, the iconic ferris wheel and Mount Fuji towering in the background.
11Brabham, Jones – Melbourne, AustraliaNamed in honour of Australian racing icons Sir Jack Brabham and Alan Jones, the eleventh section of ‘The Greatest Track On Earth’ is the corner between the Brabham and Jones stands at the Melbourne GP.
12The Senna ‘S’ – Interlagos, BrazilThe Senna ‘S’, named after the legendary Ayrton Senna, is renowned as one of Formula 1®’s most iconic overtaking spots so its only fitting that his statue is shown in the image. Itstight hairpin turn followed by a quick left-right chicane presents a prime opportunity for daring drivers to outmanoeuvre their rivals… just like the great man himself
13T14 to finish line – Interlagos, BrazilBringing the race to an end in Brazil, the thirteenth section of ‘The Greatest Track On Earth’ runs from Turn 14, known as Junção, and into Interlagos’ final sector. This downhill stretch with an off-camber exit challenges even seasoned drivers.

About the research

This online survey comprised 2,055 Sports fans (including 1,459 F1® fans) from the UK & Republic of Ireland (nationally representative) and was commissioned by Sky Sports and conducted by market research company BF Media, in accordance with UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2023).

Data was collected between 10/01/2024 and 17/01/2024. BF Media is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (2018)

In addition, Sky Sports spoke to its core F1® fan base across its social channels – including Instagram, X and Sky Sports F1® YouTube Community. A total of 2,033 fans responded to the survey. Data was collected between 08/01/2024 and 10/01/204.

About the creative process
Once the fans had had their say, Sky Sports digital designers used specific prompts in generative AI creative platform Midjourney to visualise how the greatest track might look.

Those AI images were then mapped onto a realistic version of the track as it would exist in the real world and a team of 3D designers, visual FX designers & artworkers created an animation based on those fantasy AI Images.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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