Formula 1 in Surround

A World Premiere

The Grand Prix of Europe on the Nuerburgring 2006 was the first F1 race broadcasted in Dolby Digital via Astra Digital by RTL. 10 SPL Atmos systems were used.

RTL and SPL started to work together since the Grand prix of Europe on the Nuerburgring in 2005. Broadcasting Formula 1 is one of the most demanding tasks in audio. The sheer size of the race track, the varying distance of the microphone to the cars, the speed, the loudness, and the wide frequency range makes this live event complicated to record and mix. Therefore creating a real feel of being there was a tough job.

The team, responsible for the research and finally the first successful broadcast of the first Formula 1 race in Dolby Digital consisted of: Hans Biermann, Head of Audio of RTL, Didi Henne, Sound Engineer of RTL, Andrea Borgato and Roland Fleiko of Dolby, Tobias Nievelstein, Freelance Sound Engineer, and Wolfgang Neumann, André Inderfurth and Hermann Gier of SPL.

The proof of concept was done on the Nuerburgring in 2005 with two Atmos systems. Hans Biermann was astonished about the clarity of the engine sounds. Prior tests with other mics always exposed a certain distortion which was thought to be a noise of cutting air. With the Atmos system this distortion was no longer there. They delivered a pristine signal with high frequencies being neither harsh nor irritating.

Later that year at the Grand Prix of Germany on the Hockenheimring the RTL promotion DVD "Formel 1 in 5.1" was produced by the same team.

In the following year 2006 the Grand Prix of Europe was the first F1 race ever to be broadcasted live in Dolby Digital followed by the Grand Prix of Germany in 2006 on the Hockenheimring.  

Until today those were the only two F1 races ever go on air in surround sound.