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Ben and Alex are winners already

F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize champions want to assist in preparing the next generation of fans

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Benjamin Lambert and Alexander Gibson, the new champions of the Fourth F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, are committed to doing their small bit in ensuring the future of the sport while recruiting the next generation of racing fans.

Lambert and Gibson were presented with the first prize of $50,000 (Dh185,000) by four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and F1 managing director Ross Brawn at a special presentation in the paddock area on Thursday.

The annual F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, now in its fourth year, is a joint effort from Tata Communications, Formula One Management and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in an attempt to promote and reward fans and technology enthusiasts in the sport’s only global crowd-sourced innovation competition.

“We didn’t really expect this to happen and as such haven’t even got time to think about what we are going to do with the money,” first time participant Gibson told Gulf News after receiving the cheque and trophy.

“But now I can perhaps think of doing a bit of skiing in some silent corner in Italy over Christmas,” he said.

“Maybe I will take my girlfriend and head down for a road trip to California,” added Lambert.

“The alternative of course, could be that we go out and get to spend all the money here over the weekend before we leave Abu Dhabi,” he laughed.

The duo were happy to see the direction F1 is taking, especially after it was acquired last year by US media conglomerate Liberty Media for a reported $4.4 billion (Dh16 billion) and open a new chapter for motorsport racing.

“We are already beginning to see some changes happening from the Liberty point of view. We would like to see F1 expand to a wider audience, to a younger audience so that the future of the sport is secured. And with the changes happening, the next generation of fans has to be ready to embrace these,” Lambert said.

“For us, it is interesting to talk to people here who have been involved in this sport for so many years, and see how they are actually doing some of the things that have been suggested to them by us and other contestants. Which other sport can you have so much of real-time data in one place and not make use of it?”.

Gibson added: “This competition in general is a good platform for other fans to get involved in the ideas and obviously having telecommunications with people who can make it a reality. That’s a great way to getting some of this progress to the next generation and the future of sport going forward.”