The inside story of the epic Alesi Ferrari F1 Monaco video

Monaco’s historic Grand Prix is often a moment to look back at the glory years of Formula 1 and motor racing’s past. But this year’s event threw up something totally new when an onboard video of Jean Alesi lapping the famous principality in Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312 B3 went viral on social media.

The inside story of the epic Alesi Ferrari F1 Monaco video

Observed from an angle slightly above and behind the rear wing, the video offered a unique perspective of an F1 car being pushed to its limit around the Monte Carlo streets.

As Alesi darted through the iconic corners, and blasted through the tunnel, the sensation of speed accompanied to the sound of the 3-litre flat 12 engine, demonstrated the magic of a racing car in a fresh way.

In fact, so different was the angle that it almost didn’t seem real and was actually more akin to playing a sim racing game from the third-person perspective.

 


As the Alesi footage quickly spread around the Internet, it prompted many questions about how it was pulled off and whether any computer trickery has been deployed. Autosport tracked down the brainchild behind the project for the inside story of what happened.

The man behind it is Monaco-based video producer Lucas Brito, who runs a 3D technology video company called Virtual Reality International.

Its more regular work revolves around virtual tours of luxury real estate, yachts and businesses, and it has worked with major international clients including Heineken, Hermes and the Automobile Club of Monaco.

The ACM work led to a deal to produce some video from Monaco’s motor racing events this year. Motorsport is no stranger to Brito, his father Jayme being a well-known figure in F1 TV circles.

Lucas Brito

Lucas Brito

Photo by: Lucas Brito

Having seen some footage of 360 cameras attached to road cars deliver a similar angle, Brito thought about trying it out on an F1 car.

Following discussions with Monaco chiefs, he proposed the idea but reckoned that logistical complications would make it impossible to pull off. However, just more than two weeks before the Monaco historic event, he was given the green light.

“At that moment I thought ‘wow, this is now really happening’,” Brito explained. “I had to go off do my research, order all the parts and hope they arrive in time. It was quite stressful.”

The camera used for the Alesi video was an Insta360 action camera, and it was attached to the Ferrari rear wing with a mounting stick.

The clever technology means that the stick doesn’t appear in view because it is hidden in a camera’s blind spot between the lenses. If you look closely at the Alesi footage, you can see the camera and stick in the shadow that it casts on the ground.

Jean Alesi, 1974 Ferrari 312 B3

Jean Alesi, 1974 Ferrari 312 B3

Photo by: Lucas Brito

Brito’s biggest challenge was in ensuring that the attachment between the camera stick and the Ferrari rear wing was strong enough.

He couldn’t damage the precious car, and nor could he risk the camera coming loose at 150mph and flying off into the scenery.

“To be honest with you, there was a big uncertainty about whether it was strong enough, so the attachment to the rear wing was quite strong,” he said.

“I used a pretty large heavy duty suction mount, along with a lot of silver tape around it. I wanted to ensure that no air came in under the suction cup.

“I hadn't been able to test the setup beforehand above 100 km/h though. I had done one test with it, where I ran it out of a Bentley Continental on some roads here in France, going over a few bumps. It held on firmly then!”

The other challenge was the roaring Ferrari engine – which was so loud that it overloaded the microphones on the Insta360. A bespoke separate microphone had to be placed near the exhausts.

Read Also:

Brito had only one opportunity to pull the video shoot off, with Monaco organisers having arranged some special track time for demonstration laps involving Alesi and Rene Arnoux in their two Ferraris to capture a number of different angles.

“I didn't know if the mounts would definitely hold, and another complication came up when the practice session before our run was delayed – so the cameras were running for an unplanned extra 20 minutes,” he revealed.

“Then, it was also the first laps for the drivers that weekend. So if they made a mistake then there was a high chance the cameras would have been smashed into the wall.”

Rene Arnoux, Ferrari

Rene Arnoux, Ferrari

Photo by: Lucas Brito

In the end, the run passed without hitch. The rear wing camera stayed intact (he had checked it was still there after Alesi’s first flying lap past the pits), and when Alesi's Ferrari returned, the footage was every bit as good as he had hoped.

“I was surprised at how well everything looked,” said Brito. “The stabilisation was great, because there was a lot of vibration from the car. And I was lucky with the angle of the wing too because it hides the suction mount perfectly. You can’t see it.

“Once the car was back, I immediately showed the footage to Jean and Rene and they were blown away for 15 seconds – before they got into F1 driver mode and started analysing the car balance and their performance!”

Perhaps the biggest surprise for Brito was the reception the footage got from fans, with the video generating huge traction on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

“I knew it would make some noise because it hasn’t really been seen before on an F1 car, but I was definitely surprised by how positive the reaction was.”

The success of the Alesi video has prompted obvious talk about it being something that F1 itself could look at.

However, the technical setup of a physical camera and a mounting stick means that delivering such an angle on a current grand prix car in live action remains a dream for now.

However, what the Alesi Monaco footage has highlighted is that when the technology does allow, there remain camera angles for racing cars that are not in regular use and haven’t been fully exploited yet.

Brito added: “Obviously, you can't put a big stick and a camera on the back of an F1 car in a race. But if in 20 years’ time, if there is a magic technology that allows us to show this angle, then it would definitely be of interest.

“You can see a lot more of the car, and you get a greater sense of speed than with more traditional shots.”

The views on the Alesi video appear to show that F1 fans would indeed love it.

Jean Alesi, 1974 Ferrari 312 B3

Jean Alesi, 1974 Ferrari 312 B3

Photo by: Lucas Brito

shares
comments
Steiner finds it "difficult" to say right things to Haas F1 duo
Previous article

Steiner finds it "difficult" to say right things to Haas F1 duo

Next article

Binotto: Ferrari's F1 performance so far in 2021 is "a relief"

Binotto: Ferrari's F1 performance so far in 2021 is "a relief"
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022