F1 is a data sport and understanding technology key to a good start - Red Bull Racing

By Danny Palmer
11 Mar 2014 View Comments

Regulation changes for the new Formula 1 season, which begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix, means the sport is a "data sport" and quality networking is more important than ever.

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That's according to Alan Peasland, head of technical partnerships for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, the reigning World Champions.

Computing previously spoke to Peasland last year, but with new regulations bringing the most drastic changes in car design for many years, data analysis is set to play a bigger role in the first few events of the season than any time before as teams race their brand new cars for the first time.

"The performance of our network - having to get more telemetry off the car, more sensors, and more data - it's absolutely crucial because this is a brand new vehicle for all teams," he said.

"The technology in it is new, the cars are a completely different animal this year, the way that you drive them is different. So learning as much about that new set-up as we can in the short amount of time we have is crucial."

Peasland was speaking to media at an event at AT&T's European headquarters in London. The American telecommunications firm provides Red Bull Racing with the networking infrastructure it uses to transfer data from trackside to the factory in Milton Keynes and back again.

This year that connection is two and a half times faster than it was last season, allowing for even faster decision making in an environment where a split second can be the difference between winning and second place.

High quality network infrastructure is therefore hugely important to the team, especially given that the globetrotting nature of F1 means data analysis is arguably more important to car development than building new parts.

The latter would be almost impossible to design, build and ship when the first three weeks of the season sees races take place in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain, as Peasland explained.

"The first race is going to be a massive test, it's another test event for us and it's about getting as much information from the car as we can, bearing in mind it's in Australia on the other side of the world," he said.

"Then we go straight to Malaysia so anything learned from the car in Australia, we've got to find ways of improving it, repairing it and hopefully taking the car's performance on into Malaysia without ever coming back to the UK."

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