DP World had been a major benefactor of golf with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the season-finale for the European Tour. They are also sponsors of Renault F1 outfit, which will see Fernando Alonso in their paddock next season. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Latest technological developments can bridge the gaps and bring diverse sports such as golf and Formula 1 closer in the not-too-distant future, as per two respectable professionals.

That was the conclusion of European Tour Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Michael Cole and Renault DP World Sport F1 Racing’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Pierre d’Imbleval following their online meeting of DP World’s three-episode mini-series held late on Thursday.

Opening up about the pivot role both organisations have played during the COVID-19 crisis, both officials agreed that their sports majorly hinged on fans and the use of superior technology that could take the fans really closer to their sport.

“We are probably one of the most data-driven sports, and though much of it is technically driven, we have to also remember that we are a spectacle,” d’Imbleval observed.

“Maybe the real clients of what we do as a team is not the drivers, but it’s the fan who is paying his ticket to go to the racetrack or buying an online television broadcast,” the Frenchman added. The combination of high performance and also satisfaction of the fans will be a big, big driver for the near future,” d’Imbleval stressed.

European Tour’s Cole recalled how golf had changed as a sport due to the advancement of technology. “I can still recall those days when players had to come into office and pick up bits of papers on the course map, yardage and tee times. Nowadays, all this is accessed on a simple players’ app,” Cole said.

“We build 40 to 44 mini towns in the 31 countries during a regular playing season, and our vision is to move these small towns into smart cities where we can use intelligence to drive and benefit the players, staff, contractors, commercial partners and fans,” he added.

d’Imbleval further assured that F1 is exploring ways through which technology is in a better position to bring fans into action. “Both sports should think how to make the experience really impressive for teams. We need to explore the use of virtual reality and live connection with the garage to bring some of these fans and partners into action when the car returns to the garage,” d’Imbleval noted.

“We need to use distant technology to bring people in place to see what is behind the curtain,” he added.

Cole concurred with the Renault DP World Sport F1 Racing’s CIO. “I think that actually in ten years’ time, our collective sports will converge somewhere and meet on a middle ground through technology,” he offered.

Renault’s d’Imbleval further stressed how technology had affected Formula 1 and its functioning. “Data is essence of our sport where only the two drivers can ascertain the state of the car for real while the others only analyse and do the data crunching,” he said.

“But we collect up to 35 billion data points over a race weekend. This is teamwork,” d’Imbleval added.