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High speed vendors

Jack Loo | Sept. 22, 2010
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 first of an ongoing series, Jack Loo looks at some of the world's leading software vendors as they partner the F1 teams.

SINGAPORE, 22 SEPTEMBER 2010 For many of the world's leading software companies, the world of Formula One (F1) is one of the biggest showcases for their brand name and technology expertise.

The F1 championship claims to have a worldwide television audience of 520 million across 187 countries, according to a report by the BBC.

Sponsorship of competing teams typically mean having one's corporate logo emblazoned across the sides of race cars and stamped on the uniforms of race drivers and team mechanics. According to Formula Money (a guide book on the financials behind the F1 competition), AMD's partnership with Ferrari for the 2009 campaign got the chip maker's corporate logo placed on the rear wing endplate of the race cars, as well as on the team helmets and the sleeves of team overalls and shirts.

Being involved in a sponsorship deal is not cheap. While these vendors have contractual agreements in place to ensure that no financial figures are revealed, the BBC reported that estimates from Formula Money indicate that an average deal for sponsors is worth about US$4.04 million.

But according to vendors SAP and Lenovo, it is worth the time and effort, especially when it means having its name and technology being associated with a winning team.

The golden showcase

Formula One provides a global arena in which the world's leading technology suppliers compete just as fiercely as the cars they help to produce, says Chuck Mulloy, Head of Field Marketing, SAP Asia Pacific Japan. As an official technology partner of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, SAP provides solutions that enable integration of the design, the development, and the production of the team's engines. Using SAP software, real time information on the lifecycle status of more than 3,000 components is accessible anywhere in the world.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team uses SAP product lifecycle management and business intelligence analytics to help tune their cars with precision, and to map the fastest routes for all the 19 race circuits. The cars are fitted with more than 200 sensors, which feed encrypted data to SAP Business All-In-One systems at McLaren, at a rate of four megabits a second. SAP real-time analysis of this data helps the drivers through testing, qualifying and racing out on the circuit. Using the data, McLaren can track the production and state of each part both at its UK technical centre in Woking, Surrey, and on the road.

As the official PC hardware provider to the McLaren team, Koh Kong Meng, Executive Director, Key Account Business, Lenovo ASEAN, says the products his company providesincluding notebooks, netbooks, desktops, monitors and accessoriesoffer up a highly visible showcase for Lenovo's breadth of capability, its high-performance hardware, exceptional engineering and reliability.


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