Home / Social media / News / Dutch Drone Gods vs. Max Verstappen in the new RB20 Oracle Red Bull Racing car = amazing footage.


The content you see here has been a year in the making after the idea of chasing a Formula One car with a first-person drone was discussed by Shaggy FPV (Ralph Hogenbirk from Dutch Drone Gods) and the Oracle Red Bull Racing team. The idea was brilliant but it was soon discovered that the fastest camera-equipped FPV drones weren’t fast enough to follow a Formula One car at pace, and the battery life needed to complete a fast lap just wasn’t there either. A new drone had to be developed, and the Dutch Drone Gods were up to the task. The crew has been preparing for a lap behind their countryman Max Verstappen with multiple flight simulations made with the first concepts of their new drone built at their workshop located in Eindhoven, in the South of the Netherlands. Luckily, the development was accelerated with the help and input of the Red Bull Advanced Technologies team - the high-performance engineering arm of the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. The company helped by improving the DDG design and manufacturing lightweight aerodynamic fairings and structural motor mount arms, a process that helped reduce the total mass of the custom-designed drone by approximately 10%. The new lower weight not only helped with the speed of the drone but also the massive battery life needed to complete a full lap of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. It took over a year, but the end result is a camera-equipped FPV drone that can accelerate twice as fast as an F1 car, it can reach 300 km/h in a mere 4 seconds and has an astounding top speed of over 350 km/h. It’s one thing creating the world’s fastest FPV drone, but it’s a whole different kettle of fish having the coordination to fly the thing at the right height, speed and angle to properly film a Formula One car at full tilt. Luckily Shaggy FPV has experience with fast-paced drone flying having previously followed MTB bike athletes in events like Red Bull Cerro Abajo. Downhill MTB is fast, but not F1 fast, but the man was up for the challenge of being the first person to film a full, uninterrupted lap of an F1 car with a drone, ever.

Shaggy FPV controlled the drone route using a radio controller and observed the flight path through goggles showing a low-res view of the drone's vantage point. To keep the new RB20 in the frame, the camera angle was adjusted with a foot pedal, requiring precision in hand-to-eye coordination. To add more pressure, Shaggy FPV had only one chance to get the shot because RB20 was only available for one lap of the circuit. The flight path also had to take into account some obstacles around the track, like bridges. “This is a special drone because this is the only one with a fitted camera and goes this fast. It’s fully custom-built, it’s one-of-a-kind that we have developed. It is a very challenging project to create a drone that’s fast enough to keep up and keep the car in full frame, whilst capturing the shot in an interesting way,” commented Shaggy FPV. “This was definitely the craziest shoot I’ve done so far.”

“I never thought I’d see a drone going that quick just for camera footage,” said Verstappen after seeing it in action on the circuit. “I didn’t know it was following me whilst driving in the wet, and it was very close to me in some places,"  he continued. "I was really surprised at how quickly it could keep up, and also how close it could get in the corners. It gives a bit of a different perspective to watching Formula One. For the pilot, there are a lot of things that you need to take into account, for example avoiding bridges and to anticipate our braking points, as we have a brake pedal but in the air it works differently. So, it’s very stressful I think to be that focussed,” commented Max Verstappen.

“When you see the big, wide, shots you lose perspective on the speed of the car. There are so many applications to really give the fans the feeling of what it’s like to be in one of these race cars. When you have the drone up close like that then you’re immersed in the whole experience. I’m sure in the not-too-distant future, we’re going to see this as part of our broadcast,” said David Coulthard who helped with the drone development by piloting the RB19 car during testing. The footage is amazing, so much so that it would be an awesome addition to Formula One race coverage, but having a drone overhead during a race would be too dangerous because if it lost altitude and speed over a car running at max speed, it would be like driving into a cannon ball.

Take a look at the YouTube video that shows off what has to be the coolest footage of a Formula One car in action - the result of a purpose-built first-person drone from the Dutch Drone Gods. This has to be one of the most interesting off-season videos from the Red Bull crew, and affirms the fact that this is the coolest team in F1: World's Fastest Camera Drone Vs F1 Car (ft. Max Verstappen) | Red Bull

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