WATCH: World’s fastest drone chases Max - could it revolutionise the way we watch F1?

Picture: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool.

Picture: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool.

Published Feb 29, 2024


“You think that can keep up with me around the lap in an F1 car?” Max Verstappen asked cheekily after encountering the world’s fastest drone for the first time.

It took more than a year to fine-tune, but the results are astounding. Developed by a company called Dutch Drone Gods and piloted by Ralph Hogenbirk, this first-person-view drone (FPV) can accelerate from zero to 300km/h in just four seconds and reach a top speed of more than 350km/h.

But there’s a lot more to Formula One than straight line speed and after beating Red Bull’s F1 car in a drag race, where David Coulthard was behind the wheel, the team faced the daunting task of developing a drone that could follow Verstappen around Silverstone Circuit in the UK, potentially revolutionising the way we watch motorsport.

Drone pilot Ralph Hogenbrik, AKA Shaggy FPV (apparently not the one from Scooby Doo) poses with Max Verstappen and the ridiculously fast drone. Picture: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool.

Working together with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the team had to overcome numerous obstacles to ensure this supercar of a drone could accelerate and decelerate at F1 speeds, and remain stable in the turbulent air behind Max’s new RB20 race car.

Another monumental challenge was ensuring the battery would not explode from the extreme power draw.

You can enjoy the end result in the short clip below or scroll to the end of the story for the full background video.

@redbull pov: you've got the best seat in the house 💺 watch the full video on Red Bull YouTube 📺 🏁: Max Verstappen 🧑‍✈️: @Dutch Drone Gods #redbull #givesyouwiiings #redbullracing #formula1 #drone ♬ original sound - Red Bull

Piloting the drone with a radio controller, Hogenbirk, who is better known as Shaggy FPV, faced a monumental task. Just keeping up with the current F1 world champion was challenging enough on its own, but he also had to continually adjust the camera angle with a foot pedal and navigate over bridges and under billboards.

Not surprisingly Shaggy describes it as the “craziest” shoot he’s ever done.

The end result is quite possibly the coolest view of an F1 car in action that we’ve ever seen.

“When you see the big, wide, shots (on TV) you lose perspective on the speed of the car,” David Coulthard remarked.

“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,” the former F1 driver added.

But there are other hurdles to overcome before footage such as this becomes commonplace in motorsport.

For starters, the extreme acceleration and deceleration reduces the battery life to a mere three minutes. This means that numerous drones would be needed to make a notable contribution to a F1 broadcast. Consider that the average drone only travels at around 60km/h.

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

“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.”

Watch the full video below:

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