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Visualisation for quicksilver responses in Formula One

(Caption for pic above: Third from left is Tibco’s Melissa Ries. Second from right is Tibco’s Alan Ho).

The ecosystem revolving around Formula One racing is focused on a single objective – ensuring optimal performance of race car, race driver, pit crew and safety every single race weekend. This high-octane and extremely mission-critical environment lends itself to applications for sensors, big data, analytics and visualisation technologies.

One of the more successful Formula One teams around, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (Mercedes), understands the need for these technologies all too well because it aligns with their goals to closely watch the competition and develop a strategy for continuously innovating and improving car design, responding faster to race conditions, and determining the best car setup for every race.

They also know how to leverage these technologies.

The racing team’s chief strategist James Vowles said, “With Tibco’s help, we’ve developed systems to visualise data and run simulations to make sure we can see the outcome and dig down into the depth of the data.”

He also added, “For competitors, we gather everything we can – engine audio video, GPS – close to 15 sources of information from every car in the race, and we try and use it all to build a picture of how we’re doing, and how they’re doing.”

Within Mercedes itself there are thousands of data points collected every second, every single one of them relevant to helping engineers and analysts tweak and fine tune their racing performance.

Tibco’s General Manager in APJ, Melissa Ries, said, “Mercedes is using our systems to hone in on their performance, it’s like a system of insights. They are using technologies from us that allows them to visualise the insights, allows them to stream the data in real-time.

“They are using our technology that allows them to define business process rules that will trigger alerts for events that engineers and analysts need to act upon, before, during and after the race.”

She also brought up the preventive maintenance use case that is not only relevant for the Formula One industry, but manufacturing as well. “Overall, it translates to millions of dollars in terms of cost savings, as well as impact downstream in terms of getting their products to market.”

Commenting about the constant change in race regulations that the Formula One teams have to deal with, Ries said, “We are not consultants making sure that people adhere to regulations, but our technology is flexible and agile enough that it is easy to adapt as those regulations change.”


(This journalist was a guest of Tibco’s to the Paddock Club during Singapore’s 2018 Formula One race event).