Getting the Most from the Machine
Motorsports have come a long way since the early days of drag racing in the 1920s, when cutting-edge engineering still struggled to surpass 100mph on the racetrack, and automobiles themselves were just beginning to pull out of the factory lots. Today Formula 1 racing is the pinnacle of motorsport with a global audience of hundreds of millions. Drivers can regularly reach speeds of over 200mph and withstand fighter jet levels of G forces as they race. And, from the fans watching the Grand Prix to the drivers piloting some of the most sophisticated machinery on four wheels, Lenovo plays a key role in the Formula 1 technology infrastructure.
Precision engineering and boundary-breaking technology have always been at the heart of Formula 1. As drivers and their teams constantly improve their vehicles, the broadcasters, IT professionals, event organizers, media managers, and every other cog in the Formula 1 organizational machine, implement the same forward-focused technological ethos.
“Innovation is embedded in everything we do,” explains Pete Samara, Director of Strategic Technical Ventures at Formula 1. “From the car to the track, to the broadcast and digital products, innovation has to be at the heart of everything we do every single day.”
To keep the organization’s many moving parts running smoothly, the experts at Formula 1 partnered with Lenovo for an IT infrastructure that can withstand the breakneck pace of innovation.
“We’ve got to make a million and one moving pieces synchronize and all come together in perfect harmony for race weekend,” explains Chris Roberts, IT Director at Formula 1. “It’s about ensuring that innovation comes together and we make it a hundred percent operational for fans. That’s a lot of people, and that’s a lot of software to get working together. Lenovo’s very much a one-stop shop for us, which is fantastic. We not only get amazing technology but also access to some of the best techies and expertise to help us build solutions.”
A Deluge of Data
One of the major IT challenges Formula 1 faces is the sheer volume of data generated by the organization. Not only does Formula 1 have all the data concerns of a globe-spanning company and sports organization, but each individual car is also generating millions of points of data across 22 Grands Prix around the world.
Formula 1 acquires lots of data from the cars, like the G-forces drivers hit rounding a corner, the steering angle, the brake, how much the driver is pushing the throttle and all the audio and video from the cameras and microphones.
Lenovo tech infrastructure helps put that data in the hands of the drivers and their teams instantly, through trackside devices and supports data collection with its servers.
“We have a number of servers and edge devices which then underpin that race operation for us,” says Roberts. “We have laptops, workstations, tablets, Motorola mobile phones, all the way out from the trackside and back to the broadcasting center.”
But in addition to the drivers, the fans themselves are also able to directly benefit from that track-generated data, as Lenovo technology connects the track to the Media & Technology Centre that display the data in real-time as on-screen graphics for the fans watching the race.
Samara insists that fan experience is an influential factor in the organization’s constant efforts to push technological boundaries and that the same drive is at the heart of racing as a sport.
“Racing to me is all about energy, innovation, technology, and excitement,” says Samara. “Fans like the fact that Formula 1 is always on the edge of innovation, trying to do something new all the time, whether that’s with the cars, with the fans, with the data.”
Sights fixed on Sustainability
Another key way Lenovo supports Formula 1 is in the organization’s efforts to improve sustainability in motorsports through Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services. Lenovo ARS helps F1 develop and implement a sustainable disposition strategy for technology hardware that the organization cycles through.
By relying on Lenovo ARS, F1 was able to offset some of the cost of a technology refresh as well as guarantee security through secure and reliable data destruction. In addition, the initiative furthers the organization’s sustainability goals by recycling tech in a more socially and environmentally responsible way.
“One of the great things about our partnership with Lenovo is the sustainability initiative,” says Amie Smith, Senior IT Manager at F1. “We utilize Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services, which means that we know that our hardware is going to be given a second life with users who will make the most of it, or is being recycled. And that helps us towards our goals of being more sustainable.”
The Fast and the Future-Proof
It looks like the speed of the industry will only increase for Formula 1. As the sport continues to grow in popularity around the world, and the racers and their teams continue to push the limits of speed and engineering, F1 continues to rely on Lenovo devices, infrastructure solutions, and services to keep the global machine running smoothly.
“The partnership with Lenovo is helping us be more efficient and effective across our whole organization,” says Roberts. “It allows the IT teams to pick products from their vast portfolio, to communize against our organization’s needs. Our vision is to create the world-leading spectacle of motorsport for our fans. Technology plays a massive part in that for us because we need to engage our fans on multiple levels, on multiple platforms, across the world. So, Lenovo is the core of everything we do.“
“Lenovo technology is at the heart of our race operations,” echoes Smith. “Whether that’s the devices in our server rooms, or the Motorola handsets walking around the paddock, or laptops in our hands. It really is what enables us to connect with absolutely everyone.”
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