Big Data & Cloud Technology In Formula One

How important are the two buzzwords in today's IT market to the most glamourous sport in the world? We asked Graeme Hackland, IT and IS director at the Lotus F1 Team.

By
Neil Churchill
December 8, 2013

Big data and cloud storage may be two of the most heavily used terms in the ICT industry, but they also have a role to play in the more consumer-led world of Formula One motorsport, where the most miniscule of margins determine the victors.

Such is the importance and contributing factor of understanding the huge amount of data generated during a grand prix race, or even in a testing session, the Lotus F1 team use their technology partner EMC to help them with the specifics.

Gulf Business spoke to Graeme Hackland, IT and IS director at the Lotus F1 Team, to find out just how important big data, cloud and all things technology are to the sport.

How does technology and big data benefit the team?

“Everything we do is data-driven: from design to manufacturing, to understanding performance when the car is running on the track.

“To be a step ahead, we need to be able to correlate all this data so that we can understand what solutions must be given priority and where to focus our resources.

“You will understand the importance of technology in our business if you look at the portfolio of our technical partners: a family of blue-chip companies who supported us – some for more than a decade – and helped us achieve outstanding results.

“Many of these companies are IT related and this is a reflection of the importance this area has in our strategy. The quality of data is not less important than the quantity. We must constantly improve the way we handle data, make it available and accessible according to coherent criteria.

“F1 fans see only the tip of the pyramid; the race team in action during a GP weekend. But, behind the scenes, there is another race going on, a race fought by more than 500 members of staff including engineers, IT specialists and technicians.

“We must give these two units, the factory and the race team, the tools they need to share data efficiently so that they can tighten the cycle and deploy innovation faster and more efficiently.”

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How is EMC supporting Lotus?

“The Lotus F1 Team has identified the need to build a private cloud as a first step towards making use of public cloud services in the future. EMC was selected to provide the solutions which allow us to cope with the performance, availability and capacity demands of the team.

“Our target is clearly to compete at the top of the Formula One World Championship and win. In order to achieve this we have to be able to design, manufacture and deploy a constant flow of innovating solutions that deliver performance to the race team.”

How will EMC help Lotus achieve its target of a world championship in 2015?

“EMC has a history of delivering technology and expertise to enable businesses to manage, protect and analyse their data efficiently and cost effectively – this will be critical for Lotus F1 Team to produce a Championship winning car by 2015.”

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