by Edward Qualtrough

Lotus F1 sees 2014 season fought over data and aerodynamics

Mar 14, 20143 mins
Cloud ComputingIT StrategyManufacturing Industry

Lotus F1 team IT/IS director Michael Taylor says his biggest challenge for the upcoming season is around data, with the greatest competitive advantage over the course of the year to be gained with superior aerodynamics.

Taylor, the deputy IT leader at the Enstone-based outfit for two years before assuming his current role in January, said that Lotus had been developing their 2014 car for more than two years and that he was excited ahead of this weekend’s opening race in Australia when we caught up last week.

“Our biggest challenge for the 2014 is around data, and that Big Data conundrum is something we’re really focusing on.

“We need to improve on what we capture and what we crunch, which is all focused on giving our team the information they need. We’re also looking more at historical data, old weather data for example, which can be utilised for our advantage.

Big Data?

“F1 is also probably one of the only industries where you analyse your competitors as much as you analyse yourselves.

“I’m not a fan of the term Big Data at all. We have significantly-sized datasets and the key for us is the correlation between those. Being able to identify things that work very well and seeing if we can replicate them in the wind tunnel and then on the track – completing that loop and aligning the results with our virtual models.

Taylor also said that new regulations could also make this one of the most exciting seasons in recent years in a period dominated by Sebastian Vettel.

“The biggest advantage is coming in aerodynamics, that’s where most of the competitive gains will be made over the course of the season.

“This year has been blown apart with the biggest regulation change for two and a half years – it’s a complete reset of the baseline.”

Hybrid cloud

Taylor discussed their relationship with EMC, a technology partner with Lotus until the end of the 2016 season, describing the VCE vBlock with VMware and EMC used at their two data centres in Enstone as a key component of providing Lotus end users with the applications and services that enable them to go about doing their jobs.

This private cloud architecture, Taylor said, was critical since it’s crucial for an F1 team to keep their intellectual property in house, but that a hybrid strategy was something Lotus will inevitably tend towards in the future.

“We need to keep the crown jewels – the things that make a real different – in-house, and the supplementary things which are essential but not helping us to win can go in a public cloud.

“The hybrid model will be a common theme for us.”