Lotus F1 on track with data analytics

One kilo of extra fuel is worth approximately 0.3 of a second around the Melbourne F1 track for Lotus

Data analytics can make the difference between second and fourth place in Formula One according to Lotus F1 Team converged infrastructure specialist Antony Smith.

“If you go back to the old days, you only had the information that the driver told you and what the stopwatch told you,” he said.

These days, the Lotus F1 car has over 150 sensors. Information from the sensors is logged at 1,000 times a second so Smith can run mathematical models on that data to see how the car is performing.

“Performance is so critical and the differences between the [F1] teams are so small that we have to try and make every advantage of that data that we can,” he said.

For example, one kilo of extra fuel could add 0.3 of a second to a lap time around the Melbourne track. An extra two kilos of fuel is the difference between second and fourth place, Smith said.

The F1 team can use this information to determine just how much petrol the car needs to get over the finish line without suffering time delays.

Keeping track of all the data generated by the sensors on the car is made easier with an EMC Vblock mini data centre which travels with the team to race meets around the world. Smith’s job is to set the IT infrastructure up.

“We send about 60 GB of data back to the UK every weekend. We have a team at our factory in the UK looking at that data as the car is going around the track,” said Smith.

The data is sent back to the UK via a private cloud for security reasons. After looking at the data- such as lap times- the Lotus engineers can than decide how the car gets setup for the next race meet.

For example, the engineers might request the mechanics to fit tires with different tread.

The EMC and Lotus F1 Team partnership started in 2013.

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