INSIGHT: Communications hold the key to F1 challenges in 2015

INSIGHT: Communications hold the key to F1 challenges in 2015

Many of the challenges of running a top Formula One team will be familiar to business leaders that operate their own organisations far from the high-octane world of F1 racing.

Your communications network is mission-critical. Your growing workforce is mobile and global. Security and reliability are vital.

Welcome to the reality of modern Formula One.

Many of the challenges of running a top Formula One team will be familiar to business leaders that operate their own organisations far from the high-octane world of F1 racing.

Reliable and secure global communication and collaboration are now the real force behind the sport where superstar drivers and their mechanics once ruled.

Since the checkered flag came down on the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi last November, Infiniti Red Bull Racing has continued to refine the team car, with the new RB11 now undergoing final pre-season testing and fine-tuning.

The team’s network infrastructure is critical to this process and to its mission to dominate the track this year.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s 500-strong workforce and essential partners collaborate via a secure AT&T high-speed global network. The network spans key locations including the Team’s headquarters in the UK, its engine manufacturer, Renault, in France, and its UK wind tunnel facility.

As the season progresses, AT&T will extend the network to each of the 20 Grand Prix circuits in this year’s Formula One World Championship.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing will depend heavily on this communications network as it evolves the design of the car throughout the race season. Each F1 track is unique and the team’s engineers and designers must create a bespoke car for every race.

Faster higher-bandwidth links between the trackside, HQ and factory teams mean that more information can be exchanged more quickly. This allows Infiniti Red Bull Racing to make more informed decisions and to optimise the performance of its cars more rapidly than ever.

The F1 race environment itself is extremely time-pressured and dynamic. The team will gather data from the 100 sensors on the RB11 throughout each race and analyse it collaboratively, with input from experts in the UK and France.

Through shared data monitoring, simulations running on factory-hosted supercomputers, access to CAD data and other factory resources, and face-to-face discussions via videoconferencing, the crew will fine-tune the team cars and strategies as each race develops.

Traffic on the network is therefore always very heavy throughout race weekends, and high network availability and low latency are crucial.

The amount of data transferred between Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s UK HQ and the track exceeds 200 GB during each race weekend. With a reliable, low-latency communications network, every member of this expanded engineering team can interact with activities at the track as if they were there in person.

This applies whether the race is the British Grand Prix, which is held at the circuit closest to the Infiniti Red Bull Racing HQ, or the Australian Grand Prix, which is the furthest away.

In the near future, we’re also looking to expand our AT&T unified communications solution to include IP-based phone services, presence and video conferencing. Security, of course, is constantly being updated.

With all the behind-the-scenes work that’s been going on, anticipation is building for the 2015 season opener in Melbourne on March 15. It’s going to be even more exciting for Infiniti Red Bull Racing fans, with Daniel Ricciardo fired up to show that he’s got what it takes to win his home race.

AT&T has been involved with F1 for more than a decade, supporting Infiniti Red Bull Racing since 2012.

As an Innovation Partner, our job is to keep the team connected everywhere its F1 campaign takes it. At the same time, we’re always learning from this unique industry.

As the 2015 F1 season gets underway, we know that our experience of delivering the reliable global network that Infiniti Red Bull Racing needs will have a direct influence on the services we deliver to our corporate customers around the world in the coming year and beyond.

By Bernard Yee, Regional Vice President, AT&T Asia Pacific

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