Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Formula One has announced a thrilling digital partnership with Zoom Video Communications that will deliver the first ever virtual Paddock Club experience.
The Formula One Paddock Club is the most luxury area of a Grand Prix location, offering exclusive VIP hospitality for every Formula One Grand Prix. With different packages, VIP guests can enjoy the best views of any track from magnificent facilities, gourmet multi-course meals and open Champagne bars.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport had to significantly reduced the number of people present at the paddock, meaning that only essential people are allowed to attend races. The restrictions also forced Formula One to suspend the Paddock Club at the opening eight European rounds of the championship.
With the races taking place without in-person hospitality offerings, Formula One and Zoom partnered to create a bespoke virtual hospitality experience for guests. Zoom was founded by Eric Yuan in 2011 and currently has 2,532 employees. The California-based company provides videotelephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations.
At the Styrian Grand Prix, guests had the opportunity to join a video platform, presented by Zoom, that offered live updates and insights from legends of the paddock. In a statement released on Thursday, Formula One communicated that further experiences will be added to the Virtual Paddock Club, starting with the Formula 1 Aramco Magyar Nagydíj 2020.
„Additional experiences will also be created, in-line with the FIA’s regulations, at future races. Zoom will provide an exclusive experience throughout the eight-race European season, and in addition, F1 will look to work with Zoom to expand the Virtual Paddock Club offering to its Global Partners and F1 Teams.”
Ben Pincus, Director of Formula 1’s Commercial Partnerships welcomed the Chinese-American communications technology as the sport’s latest partner. He said: “We understood the opportunity Zoom presented to us, which was about delivering a live sporting experience for guests despite the fact much of sport is currently behind closed doors. Zoom by its very nature is about enabling and connecting businesses remotely and this partnership, which has been developed virtually, is an example of just that."
Pincus who worked previously as Heineken’s sponsorship director has revealed that the sport continues to work on innovative ideas and solutions for the future in these unprecedented times dictated by the coronavirus outbreak.
„We are excited to work with Zoom to continue to connect businesses and their VIPs through this virtual hospitality experience. We hope this will be the first of many innovations we roll out in the coming months for our partners. Over the past few months, through Project Pitlane and Virtual Grand Prix races, we have seen the ability to innovate is imperative as we collectively adapt to an environment that continues to evolve,” Pincus concluded.
CMO of Zoom, Janine Pelosi has revealed that the partnership is expected to continue even when the coronavirus-induced situation allows again for fans and guests to visit races again.
“We at Zoom are thrilled to kick off the Virtual Paddock Club with Formula 1. During this challenging time, organizations such as Formula 1 still need to provide engaging experiences for fans and enterprises need to offer unique opportunities for their top prospects, and Zoom is here to help. The Virtual Paddock Club is the best way to recreate that VIP sports experience from home. Long run, there’s an opportunity for a hybrid virtual/in-person model so distance is no longer a barrier to sports hospitality.”