Cloud Services Fueling Formula 1 Results


“In Formula 1 racing, it takes the complete package. A good driver in a bad car or vice versa does not bring good results,” Yan Lefort, Commercial Director Sauber Motorsport AG explained in a recent interview with IoT Evolution. “The combination is crucial,” Lefort continued. It’s simple. Refine every aspect of the car, from the inside out, leveraging available technology and data to create a car ready to race. Then, find the right driver at the right time in his (or her) career to exploit the car to the max. Simple: Right?  

“The amount of technology and where this technology is,” is driving the sport, with each team, “constantly innovating and pushing boundaries.”

The fun part is every weekend… big stars… cool people… funky business, colorful sport… however behind the scenes, there are rooms of “geeks” spending hundreds of hours, which will impact performance fractionally that will mean the difference between the front and the back of the pack. 

Lefort illustrated from the technology aspect, “this is like sending a rocket to the moon every second week.” From the tech in the car, how the car is built, to how the car is managed; there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into this process. It is detail on top of detail in a vast sea of endless details. 

With the influx of technology, one may assume the up-and-coming, younger drivers would have the advantage in adjusting to the evolving sport, but not so. Lefort explained drivers like Kimi Raikkonen or Lewis Hamilton, who have been in the sport since a young age, are not only high caliber athletes, but are also extremely intelligent and able to understand the innovation, and clearly communicate car behavior to team engineers. The best drivers can, “translate the feel of the car into words.” 

“These guys, they’re built mentally for this from a young age,” and when they arrive to a team, they are prepared to deliver. This is critical because nowadays, everything can be analyzed – angles of the car on the track or steering wheel, to tire temperature and pressure. Engineers can pair driver input with visualized data to break down performance and pinpoint areas for improvement like, breaking strategy or turning apex compared to the competition. 

The right partners play a pivotal role in creating a culture of winning. Lefort illuminated the sport is changing, as a capped team budget is on the horizon, so technology partners must proliferate efficiency – i.e., faster data access, easier data access – ensuring engineers are equipped to slice seconds off track times and enhance team operations overall. For Sauber Motorsports and the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 team, Zadara fills those shoes nicely.

Zadara CEO Nelson Nahum echoed Lefort’s sentiment, telling IoT Evolution the new spending cap puts a premium on efficiency, propelling demand for tech partners across the F1 landscape. 

By elevating on track results, Zadara has the opportunity to elevate its platform. Lefort sees this relationship as a key piece of the team today as well as the long term – a shared narrative with a champagne toast to boot! The edge cloud services provider is one of many technology partners crafting a championship caliber team. 

Nahum noted, “These machines generate so much data. It was just a few years ago the first camera was put on a car, today there are 20,” and that’s just a starting line. Whether it’s analyzing mission critical data from a wind tunnel session, to manufacturing an optimized vehicle, these robust data sets must be saved and stored in a system with capable compute power to model performance and gain competitive advantage. 

Remember, even a fraction of a second matter, so this 20x leap in data must be unpacked, analyzed and applied every couple of weeks in preparation as well as on race day. Things that seem small, matter in a big way in terms of on track performance. In this real time use case, there is no margin for error; there is no margin for down time. 

Zadara is sprinting toward the future with Sauber, and treats its other partners in much the same way offering customers the ability to upgrade and refresh hardware at any time. Legacy solutions get lapped in a competitive landscape, and Nahum wants to ensure all partners can keep pace with the lead pack. Just as the cloud can cut seconds every couple of weeks, it can also optimize the bottom line with modern solutions, and do so in a flexible, pocket-friendly manner.  

This may be Zadara’s first foray in sports, but its vast network of MSP partners around the globe speaks volumes. It provides more than just technology, supporting each relationship by not only taking feedback to create future services and solutions, but also provide marketing and education collateral. 

People are thinking about the mobility, flexibility and agility afforded by the cloud, as Nahum stated that not only has the beginning of 2021 surpassed the sales success of entire calendar years, but even when the pandemic passes things will never go back the way they were. He put it best, “People realize cloud services are the way to go.”

Nahum teased, “We are talking about some really cool ideas for the future,” but that was all I could get out of the coy executive. For now, we can watch Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi climb the leaderboard for the Alfa Romeo F1 team, while Zadara pushes for the pole position in cloud services. 

Stay tuned: we are racing to the finish line for IoT Evolution Expo, and this is just a preview for the type of content that lay ahead. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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