FEATURE-Motor racing-F1 data, from drop of a hat to blink of an eye

jueves 12 de noviembre de 2015 22:00 GYT

By Alan Baldwin

BRACKLEY, England Nov 13 (Reuters) - What might once have been done at the drop of a hat now comes in the blink of an eye for Matt Harris, the Mercedes Formula One team's head of IT.

This weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, the penultimate round of the season, perfectly illustrates his point.

Harris, who has worked at the Brackley factory since the days of BAR in the 1990s, recalled with wry amusement what setting up communications used to be like at the Sao Paulo circuit a decade or more ago.

"We'd turn up...and you'd basically be 10 teams down the pitlane arguing over who got the ISDN lines because there weren't enough supplied into the track," he told Reuters on a recent factory visit.

"You dialed it up and if you didn't keep it dialed up for the weekend, basically you lost it when somebody else used it.

"You'd barter with a telecoms engineer from Brazil with a hat or a T-shirt...and trying to barter against a Ferrari guy you generally lost because they wanted the Ferrari hat or T-shirt."

Nowadays information from more than 150 sensors on each of the cars driven by triple world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg travels from Sao Paulo to the factory, where ranks of engineers crunch the numbers, in a matter of milli-seconds -- the blink of an eye.

The big step up for Mercedes, who had already previously migrated from hefty satellite dishes to MPLS private networks, came in 2013 when they partnered with India's Tata Communications.   Continuación...