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High speed data

John Flood | Sept. 24, 2010
Renowned blogger John Flood of, tells us how IT is typically employed during a race weekend.

With the Singapore leg of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) Formula One World Championship coming up this weekend, will be looking at the impact of technology on Formula One (F1) racing. In the final part, renowned blogger John Flood, who owns and edits the blog site, reveals below how IT is employed during a race weekend.

On race weekend the data is collected for several different reasons. In no particular order they are as follows: 1. Real time telemetry for making pre-race set-up decisions and in race adjustments; 2. Track the progress and pace of competitors for strategic reasons; 3. Gather historical data to determine the stress and wear on consumable parts (tires, etc.) as well as reusable parts (engines and gearboxes); 4. Gather historical data for immediate design revisions; 5. Gather historical data for long term design consideration (next season).

This is accomplished via a continuous stream of telemetry coming from more than 100 sensors on the car. The telemetry is one way, no data can be sent to the car to make automatic adjustments. It is technically possible, but it is against the regulations.

The data is transferred using up to 2000 telemetry channels transmitted by a wireless 1.5 GHz frequency and all the data is encrypted. The cars also have an onboard memory storage system as well but it is not clear whether it is flash or a hard disk.

One other bit of IT is employed onboard as well. There is an accident data recorder that records info for safety analysis after an on-track incident. The data is used to improve safety systems in order to better protect the driver.

One last innovation is race simulation. The drivers, engineers, and circuit designers use this. For example, no driver will have driven the new circuit in Korea, but all will have driven the circuit virtually via computer simulation. They will use the same data that the circuit designers used. Fascinating!


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