Red Bull takes F1 filming to new heights with record-breaking drone

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Red Bull Racing has unveiled groundbreaking drone footage of Max Verstappen in action at the Silverstone Circuit.

This feat was made possible by a custom-built drone pushing the boundaries of both speed and technology, marking the first time a drone has matched an F1 car on the track.

Dutch drone pilot and designer Ralph Hogenbirk led the development of the remarkable device alongside a team of elite engineers.

Their creation, dubbed the "Red Bull Drone 1," boasts unparalleled performance, capable of accelerating from 0 to 300 kph in a mere four seconds - twice as fast as an F1 car. Moreover, it sustains a mind-blowing cruising speed of 350 kph.

“I never thought I’d see a drone going that quick just for camera footage,” said Verstappen.

“I didn’t know it was following me whilst driving in the wet, and it was very close to me in some places. 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 1.”

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Building such a marvel wasn't without its hurdles. The team faced a multitude of challenges, including replicating an F1 car's dynamic capabilities - matching its rapid acceleration and sharp turns.

Furthermore, they needed a powerful battery capable of powering the drone through an entire 5.8 km circuit at full throttle, all while keeping the system cool enough to avoid overheating and potential combustion.


But perhaps the most demanding test was learning to operate this revolutionary drone. Mastering its control system and maintaining pace with a seasoned champion like Verstappen demanded a whole new level of piloting skill.

“This is a special drone because this is the only one with a fitted camera and goes this fast,” explained Hogenbirk.

“He controlled the drone using live images relayed to a headset, with hand controls to manoeuvre it and a separate foot pedal to adjust the camera angle.

“It’s fully custom-built, it’s one-of-a-kind that we have developed,” he said. “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.

“This was definitely the craziest shoot I’ve done so far.”

Despite these challenges, the Red Bull Drone 1 successfully completed its mission during its filming session at Silverstone earlier this month, capturing stunning footage of the 2024 RB20 in action.

This accomplishment represents a significant leap forward in F1 filming technology, offering new perspectives and possibilities for capturing the thrill and speed of the sport.

Check out the video hereunder to appreciate the technology prowess accomplished by Ralph Hogenbirk and his team.

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