Formula One: A Technology Race

“It’s now obvious that Formula One is as much a technology race as it is a car race."

“It’s now obvious that Formula One is as much a technology race as it is a car race,” says Alan Peasland, Head of Technical Partnerships, Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

With the 2015 Formula One season now underway following the weekend’s curtain raiser in Melbourne, and with the sport continuing to adapt to one of the most extensive rule changes during the past ten years, Peasland is unwavering in his belief that for Red Bull Racing, leading the pack digitally is imperative for on the track success.

“We have to be the fastest on and off the track,” admits Peasland, alluding to new season of regulations. “This is because our ability to rapidly gather, share and analyse new data is more important than ever.

“Of course, our sport is all about the people – the talented drivers, mechanics and engineers that make up Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

“But our team could not function without fast and highly secure communications on a reliable high-capacity network.”

Referring specially to the technology provided by global tech giant AT&T, Peasland says the technology allows Red Bull Racing to connect its dispersed team from all corners of the planet, helping them collaborate to make the best use of their talent, skills and experience.

“The AT&T infrastructure has allowed us to transfer at least 200GB of data between our UK headquarters and the track during every race,” explains Peasland, speaking to Computerworld New Zealand.

“Our 2014 network was two and a half times faster than that of 2013 and provided higher bandwidth.

“This has allowed us to make extensive use of telepresence, to introduce CAD and design tools into the garage, and to use factory-hosted data centres to run simulations and analysis.”

For Peasland, Red Bull Racing simply couldn’t run these applications without AT&T providing low latency.

“In such a fast-moving environment, we would otherwise be effectively cutting the trackside team off from decision support from the Ops Room,” he adds.

“Even at the Melbourne race, which is the furthest Grand Prix from our HQ, our latency-sensitive applications continue to work well.”

Another big challenge for the team is security. Given Red Bull Racing runs a highly mobile workforce that collaborates globally and shares vast amounts of sensitive information for Peasland, “it is critical to avoid any breach.”

Driving technology innovation

As Red Bull Racing’s Innovation Partner, AT&T helps the team of employees and critical partners work together – making sure that the trackside team, HQ staff in the UK and engine manufacturer, Renault, in France can interact as if they were all at the race or test track together.

But when quizzed on when AT&T technology is most important to the team, in the pre-race preparation stage or during the race itself, Peasland couldn’t answer, such is the mission critical nature of the technology.

“It’s equally important in both instances, but for different reasons,” he explains. “Pre-race preparation relies on the collaboration between HQ and trackside to optimise and refine the car for the specific conditions presented to us at each particular race event.

“During the race, the collaboration provides a mission critical link to assist with health monitoring of the car and providing real time race strategy support to the race team and drivers.”

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