How the Lotus F1 Team has turbocharged into the data fast lane

Rebuilding IT infrastructure to boost competitive advantage

Lotus has to deal with a massive amount of data

Lotus F1 Team announced its decision to appoint EMC as its IT infrastructure partner to optimise its resources for competitive advantage and ready for the most radical rule changes ever seen in Formula 1 – with the switch from normally-aspirated V8 engines to a new breed of hybrid turbocharged V6 power units with Energy Recovery System technology. This project aimed to optimise its resources for competitive advantage and ensure it could make significant changes to the cars' design and engineering in time.

IT underpins everything from the concept stage of car design, through to the modelling, production and manufacturing of car parts, virtual testing and aerodynamics testing in the wind tunnel and then finally supporting the team trackside during races.

All of these development stages produce a massive amount of data, which needs to be stored, analysed and accessible 24/7 to various engineers, mechanics and strategists for improving the cars and making real-time decisions.

Lotus F1 Team turned to EMC to help tackle its 80% data growth in the last two years by deploying a number of different technologies, and we spoke to Michael Taylor, IT/IS Director of the Lotus F1 Team, about exactly what all this means.

TechRadar Pro: What were the reasons behind you choosing EMC as a technical partner?

Michael Taylor: In light of the most radical design and rule changes ever seen in Formula 1, we rebuilt our IT infrastructure in order to optimise its resources and generate new sources of competitive advantage in the 2014 season.

We chose EMC as a technical partner simply because they could provide the best possible IT resources available in order for us to be able to transform the way we deliver our IT services at both Enstone and trackside locations throughout the world.

We knew that a trusted big data and storage expert like EMC could help accelerate our journey to the cloud, allow us to improve our use of data and therefore our success on the track.

TRP: In what areas does EMC technology help support the Lotus F1 Team – R&D, race days etc?

MT: EMC technology supports our entire IT infrastructure which underpins everything from the concept stage of the cars design, through to the modelling, production and manufacturing of car parts, 3D virtual testing and aerodynamics testing in the wind tunnel, and then finally on supporting the technology trackside and during the race itself.

All of these stages of development produce a massive amount of data which needs to be stored, analysed and accessible 24/7 to various engineers, mechanics and strategists in order for them to be able to make necessary improvements and vital decisions in real-time for the benefit of the team.

EMC's infrastructure technology allows us to be more competitive, more agile and react to the demands of the business. For example, the Team can now build and complete from scratch an environment that supports the R&D team in the testing of car components in less than two hours.

Previous to its partnership with EMC, the IT team would need to order in new hardware to make this possible. This was reliant on external suppliers and could take weeks to arrive. This technology would be overused, run at full capacity and be resource intensive to manage.

The team now has a 100% reliable infrastructure that is capable of supporting the testing phase to ensure both cars are as ready as possible for a Grand Prix. The technology supports a driver-in-the-loop simulator for the team to replicate a designed component or part and see how it would perform in a race environment. This is crucial for us to develop and innovate more quickly and increase competitive edge.