ATTACK MODE

ClientFORMULA E
Category A02. Applied Innovation
TitleATTACK MODE
Product/ServiceATTACK MODE
Entrant IRIS London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation IRIS London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production FORMULA E London, UNITED KINGDOM
Credits
Name Company Position
Matt Rebeiro Iris Innovation Team
Dave Caygill Iris Innovation Team
Rich Edwards Iris Group Planning Director
Matt Gully Iris Account Team

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

We created a world-first new race feature that not only keeps Formula E (the global electric street series) as exciting and as unpredictable as it’s ever been, but also introduces a category disrupting experience for teams, drivers and fans. Attack Mode is an FIA approved innovation that introduces brand new tactical considerations and enhances the fan spectacle by engineering new jeopardy into Formula E races.

Background

Season 5 brought a new faster, more aggressive car, new manufacturers, and new drivers, it was set to be the most exciting yet. But with improvements in battery technology allowing 1 charge to last the whole race – the mid race car change pit swap was lost. And with it the excitement and unpredictability it brought. Formula E was in real danger of having zero tactical intrigue and the races becoming a dull procession. We were tasked with adding jeopardy and excitement to the race to enhance the viewer experience. But this couldn’t be a mere marketing gimmick – we were tasked with fundamentally re-thinking the rules, tactics and spectacle of what a racing series could be. This meant we needed something that would not only entertain fans, but also be accepted by the FIA and by the drivers and teams. Our solution was Attack Mode.

Describe the idea

Attack Mode increases the intensity of the on-track action - a unique innovation in sport, introduced to enhance the viewer experience and retain the unpredictable nature of the electric street racing series. Drivers are able to access Attack Mode at any time during the race from the second lap - allowing them to chase down their rivals or build a lead to defend their position. Attack Mode temporarily boosts power levels from 200kW to 225kW, giving them the edge on their opponents for a short period of time. Like with most great innovations, its success is in how intuitive it is. By adapting the idea of a ‘power-up’ from the world of video-gaming, we have created something that at once both feels completely new to the world of motorsport and feels intuitive to the audience.

What were the key dates in the development process?

July 2017: Formula E brief us on the need to find new race innovations August 2017: We conduct research to understand consumer behaviours and interests and these map against Formula E’s levers and barriers. We identify the world of video gaming and e-sports as potentially fertile territory to explore further. 20th September, 2017: We facilitate a workshop bringing together multi-disciplinary team from Formula E (marketing, ops, broadcast, production, sporting etc.) with a blend of creatives and innovators from within our copmany for a one-day workshop designed to rapidly ideate and validate a long-list of race concepts. October 2017: We work with Formula E to shortlist the race concepts and begin to asses feasibility with Formula E’s production team, as well as the FIA and racing teams. Multiple rounds of iteration to refine based on sporting, operational and budget constraints. November 2017: ‘Mario Kart’ concept identified as front-runner based on feasibility, consumer appeal and brand relevance. December 2017: further sell-in to Formula E teams and drivers, and further refinement of the rules governing the concept with the FIA. H1 2018: idea on back-burner as Formula E team focus on their race season H2 2018: technology development and testing conducted in Valencia; alongside further proposition development. December 2018: Attack Mode announced as part of Season 5 15th December, 2018: Attack Mode goes live in the first race of the season in Ad Diriyah

Describe the innovation / technology

The innovation is the introduction of an off-[racing]-line activation zone, featuring three timing sensors to confirm the entry, progression through, and exit of the zone. Provided all three sensors are triggered, the driver can activate the armed ‘Attack Mode’ button on their steering wheel to access a higher power mode of 225kW. The technology supporting this is on-board telemetry and sensors. To bring this to life for fans, Formula E broadcasters in season five incorporate virtual reality - with the activation zone rendered on the track as a tied to field graphic. This cutting-edge technology harnesses trackside camera tracking, live telemetry data and powerful graphic engines to help tell the story of the race and creates a differentiated visual product for Formula E vs. its competitors.

Describe the expectations / outcome

- The outcome is more exciting races. Specifically, it does this in three ways: 1. Creates the conditions for more over-taking in the race. As all motorsports know, it is overtaking that creates visual drama and excitement – more wheel-to-wheel competition is the best outcome of any rule change. 2. Creates a new tactical dimension for teams to understand and exploit, and for pundits and fans to discuss/debate 3. Creates a clear differentiation from other more tradition motorsports (Formula 1; Touring Cars etc.); positioning Formula E as the future and gives fans another reason to believe and fly the flag for their adopted sport - Forbes described the innovation as “potentially as significant as the three-point shot in basketball”. - Winner of Silver Entertainment for Sport Lion at Cannes 2019.