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Microsoft: Digital innovation on wheels. How Renault Sport Formula One Team races for success 2018.12.01

Microsoft and Renault - November 27, 2018 - With sleek cars reaching 220 miles per hour, Formula One racing is a pinnacle of aerodynamics and engineering finesse. In recent years, the global event has also become a sport of computing prowess, an essential shift to process the vast amounts of data generated in building, testing and racing high-speed machines.

Renault Sport Formula One Team car.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 

Microsoft and Renault - November 27, 2018

By Vanessa Ho, Microsoft


With sleek cars reaching 220 miles per hour, Formula One racing is a pinnacle of aerodynamics and engineering finesse.

In recent years, the global event has also become a sport of computing prowess, an essential shift to process the vast amounts of data generated in building, testing and racing high-speed machines.


Renault Sport Formula One Team car.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
Among this season’s 10 teams, Renault Sport Formula One Team stood out as a rising star with big goals
.

https://www.renaultsport.com/-Formule-1-330-.html  

After supplying engines to other teams in recent years, the French automaker entered the race as a full constructor team in 2016, which means it’s responsible for building the entire car.
It reorganized its two factories in England and France, invested in staff and resources, and laid out a multi-year plan for winning a championship.

Renault Sport F1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg (front car) at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 7, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
The team has since ascended in rankings every year, rising from a dismal ninth place in 2016 to sixth place in 2017.
It ranked fourth at the end of this year’s 21-race season, which wrapped Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the United Arab Emirates.

Renault Sport F1 Team driver at the Grand Prix F1 on image TV.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
“We are at the top of the midfield,”
says Pierre d’Imbleval, Renault Sport Racing chief information officer.
“What will change the game is how we embrace technology that makes us even more efficient. It’s about being smarter in the way we work.”

Nico Hülkenberg, Renault Sport Formula One Team driver.
Every time Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz get behind the wheel, more than 200 sensors collect over a billion data points that help the technical staff improve aerodynamics, performance, and handling.
By keeping drivers and teams so interconnected, members of the race strategy team can make live race-time decisions while designers and engineers can get started on future innovations.
Photo courtesy of Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
Because Formula One limits the number of physical test runs and wind tunnel hours teams can perform, Renault’s engineers rely heavily on computer simulation to gain a razor-thin edge.
To adapt their cars for each race, they run thousands of digital scenarios with Azure Batch to fine-tune modifications, pit stop tactics, tire combinations and other strategies.

The cloud’s scalable compute power enables the team to cost-effectively run big loads of virtual machines in a matter of minutes – work that previously took hours on-premise.

Speed is critical and the innovation cycle brutal; the team often designs, tests, manufactures and ships parts in a few days during the race season.

Carlos Sainz, Renault Sport Formula One Team driver.
Every time Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz get behind the wheel, more than 200 sensors collect over a billion data points that help the technical staff improve aerodynamics, performance, and handling.
By keeping drivers and teams so interconnected, members of the race strategy team can make live race-time decisions while designers and engineers can get started on future innovations.
Photo courtesy of Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
“There are so many factors that are constantly changing and can affect race strategy: track temperature, tire performance, what the other drivers are doing,”
says Mark Everest, the team’s information systems development manager.
“Simulation helps us quickly understand how to configure the car for a particular track.”

The drivers and teams communicate on and off the track so that they can make live race-time decisions while designers and engineers can get started on future innovations.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
Renault Sport Formula One Team is also exploring Microsoft’s artificial intelligence tools to find insights from the 30 to 50 billion data points it generates every race weekend.

Much of the data is normal feedback, but the amount of data makes it challenging to know what’s abnormal.

Azure Machine Learning can parse the data for anomalies, so engineers spend less time manually checking data channels and more time on innovation.

The technology can help the team as it accumulates more data every year.

The Renault Sport Formula One team uses HoloLens to perform simulations on the car and bring the design process to life.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
“How do we use that extra data?”
says Everest.
“You can’t just get more people to look at the data. You have to find smarter ways of working with that data, and AI is going to be one of those ways.”

The team is also studying AI as a way to analyze tire behavior, a complex challenge involving thousands of factors from track conditions to the type of tire compound
.

“Tires are much more complex than lumps of rubber, and understanding how they’re going to behave is a serious challenge,” says Everest.
“So AI would be good at spotting patterns.”

Each engineer plays an important role on the team to make the cars faster and more reliable than ever.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
Already, Renault Sport Formula One Team has accelerated its design and build process – a system involving 20,000 parts per car – with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power BI.

It’s exploring edge computing for race-day analytics.
And it is deploying Microsoft HoloLens to visualize simulations in 3D, which is leading to better understanding and collaboration.

The mixed reality project stemmed from an initiative encouraging IT employees to spend 10 percent of their time on innovation, an essential tactic for trying to overcome teams with larger budgets and staff.

More than 200 sensors collect over a billion data points that help the technical staff improve aerodynamics, performance, and handling.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
“When you’re not as big as the other teams, it is a really exciting challenge to try and win championships,”
says Everest.
“Technology to me is the only way to do that. It is about innovating and working more efficiently and out-engineering the competitors.”

But innovation requires change, which d’Imbleval says can be difficult in the risk-averse culture of motor sports.

He says the bi-weekly pressure to deliver top performance in high-profile Formula One races – watched 1.4 billion times on TV last year – can make people resistant to change.


https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.strong-growth-for-f1s-tv-and-digital-audiences-in-2017.6Cted4V292gQ420AeoSO2e.html  


Renault Sport Formula One Team members, including driver Carlos Sainz (left).
Photo courtesy of Microsoft / Renault Sport Formula One Team
 
He views his role as CIO as strengthening Renault Sport Formula One Team with technology, while encouraging innovation and collaboration.

“That’s the challenge of leaders in this industry, to make people more confident to take risks,” d’Imbleval says.

He then shares one of his favorite quotes on disruption:
“Edison’s electric light did not come about from the continuous improvement of the candle.”

“That’s really true,” he says.
“You need people to improve the candle, because that is what you have to achieve your business. But you also need people who think, ‘Let’s get rid of the candle and reinvent out of the box.’”


Vanessa Ho, Microsoft

Vanessa Ho, Microsoft
Photo courtesy of Microsoft
 

Video
A billion data points per race fuel high speed innovation for Renault Sport Formula One™ Team

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s57kAJFoyvQ  


Learn more about Renault Sport Formula One Team at Microsoft In Culture.

https://www.microsoft.com/inculture/sports/renault-sport/  


Source: Microsoft News Center

https://news.microsoft.com  



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