The race for perfect, actionable data
The excellent use of data is absolutely vital to winning a Formula One race. At Lotus F1 Team, we gather and analyse huge amounts of information to help us design and develop cars, and win races.
the base product is established at the start of the season, the typical design
life cycle of our cars is two weeks. This is because there are extensive
performance and development changes between each race. Over the course of any
season, excluding homologated parts, practically every component is likely to
is vital to this. We collect a large amount of information from how the car
performs on the track, as well as from our factory in Enstone, Oxfordshire,
where we develop the cars. The information can include all aspects of a car's
performance as well as how each component reacts.
Phenomenal data growth
have experienced an 80 per cent data growth in the last two years, and we now
generate 100 gigabytes of data per hour at the factory on computational fluid
dynamics. Each season, we also create 15,000 design drawings. At the trackside,
we tend to generate over 25 megabytes of data per lap. We have over 1.5
petabytes of usable storage ready for us for the next two to three years, and
we're going to need it.
order to handle this volume of data, we have established two data centres that
are geographically split but onsite within our Enstone campus.
are only three in-season test sessions per year when, under the race
regulations, we can test a particular design in practice. This means that on
the whole, any new parts or components can only be tried out during the race
weekend, and simulation before races is vital.
use a driver-in-the-loop simulator that allows us to simulate a designed
component or part and see how it would perform in a race environment. It also
enables our drivers to test and give direct feedback to the new setup. As you
can imagine, this uses a vast amount of data and the analysis is complex.
Live at the track side
is also vital to us during a race. On average, we will only send one of our 36
IT staff out to a race, and the remainder will be back in the UK maintaining,
changing and monitoring technology as the race weekend proceeds.
amounts of data are generated between the car and the pit, as we monitor how
the car is running. It is vital for us to have 100 per cent availability of systems.
Different members of the team have different displays to show them exactly the
information they need.
advance of the race, we simulate a variety of scenarios to assess the different
strategy options to ensure we maximize our potential result The baseline strategy helps us to react to
change in real-time as the race unfolds, continually refining our strategy to
maximize the end result.
Analysis for change
remains our biggest challenge in the long run. The key for us all is learning
how to get the most from the information we have. As
it stands, we only properly maximise around 30 per cent of our data, and we
would like to see this change. Improvements are vital to our competitive
advantage, and to our cost control and efficiency.
business intelligence is a major part of what we need to do with data, and this
is the same challenge every team faces. The next step will be learning to
understand exactly what is happening from every factor in a race, and
developing the ability to run complex queries. This means correlating the
various datasets, such as GPS, weather, tyre wear, fuel and so on, with driver
behaviour and competitor actions.
ultimate goal is real-time analytics. When you are generating over 2,000
different statistics per lap for each car, there is a real challenge around
delivering fast, useful, accurate information to team members. We would like to
have real-time intelligence so that we can make even faster changes during a
know that getting more from our data is vital, and will enable us to make a
real performance gain. But it is a long process and something we will work on
over a period of time. The first steps have already taken place, and we will
focus on continued change for great wins.