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F1 Asks Fans For Ideas On How IoT Can Improve Team Performance

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Tata’s latest Formula One Connectivity Innovation Prize invites fans to submit ideas on how IoT connectivity can improve teams, drivers and workspaces

Formula One is asking motorsport fans and technology enthusiasts to come up with ideas on how the Internet of Things (IoT) can help teams improve on race day.

The challenge forms part of the fourth annual F1 Connectivity Prize, held by Tata Communications, ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

Tata is the official connectivity supplier for both Formula One and the Mercedes team – the latter of which set this, the first of three challenges that comprise this year’s prize.

Mercedes-AMG-Petronas F1

IoT in Formula One

“The Formula 1 racing calendar requires a feat of human performance, race operations and logistics like no other,” says James Allison, Technical Director of Mercedes. “We wish to measure and optimise every aspect of how our engineers and drivers operate across multiple time zones, as well as how we manage a large number of off-car devices and equipment to give us the best chance of on-track success.

“For example, we have a dedicated coach to analyse human performance and advise our drivers and engineers on optimal sleep patterns for long-haul flights, and how to collaborate more efficiently at the track.”

Entrants are being asked to consider how team members, equipment and workspaces, such as the garage, can be turned into connected ‘things’ using the power of real time analytics. Ideas should also consider human performance, race operations and logistics.

Ideas include how to minimise the impact of jet lag on drivers and mechanics who have to attend around 20 races a season across all corners of the globe, how to maximise components such as tyre blankets, and how freight is delivered to each circuit.

Technological advances

Entries close on the 15th June and will be judged by a panel that includes John Morrison, F1 CTO, Martin Brundle, a former driver and now commentator, Mehul Kapadia, MD of Tata’s F1 Business, and Ross Brawn, MD of motorsport at F1. Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton will also judge.

“Formula 1 is all about new technologies and pushing the boundaries as far as we can; that’s what I love about the sport,” said Hamilton. “The ‘Internet of Things’ has the potential to bring huge competitive advantages to our team’s operations, and change how fans experience the sport too. That’s what makes it so exciting. I can’t wait to see the ideas from fans for this challenge.”

Previous competitions have focused on subjects such as data visualisation and connectivity as the sport uses new technologies to transform itself. Williams is using biometric analysis to ensure it has the fastest pit stops on the grid, for example.

Recent seasons have seen advanced communication technology applied across the paddock but use of sensors and data analysis has been commonplace for decades.

Indeed, Williams CIO Graeme Hackland told Silicon that F1 had been using IoT before the term was even invented.

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