Cut To The Race Podcast

Data Driven Decision-Making at McLaren

How partnership with Splunk helps the racing team's performance

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McLaren’s partnership with technology provider Splunk Inc. helps the team make insightful, real-time decisions to improve performance on all aspects of a race weekend – and eSports.

Since the start of the 2020 Formula One season, the Woking-based racing team has been using the Splunk data platform across the McLaren Group infrastructure. The partnership allows McLaren to maximize the value of data from each racing car’s more than 300 sensors. These sensors monitor everything from fuel level and tire pressure to speed and battery health.

Earlier this year, the partnership was extended into McLaren’s eSports division, where Splunk will provide a platform to analyse timing data, tyre temperatures and wear, optimal throttle and brake application and other metrics. This helps increase the esports team’s competitiveness in the V-10 R League, eNascar Coca-Cola iRacing competition and the F1 Esports Series.

Over a race weekend, the team collects over 1.5 terabytes of data. This includes lap times and pit stop times just as much as data to understand the load and pressure on different parts of the car, like suspension and wings.

The reality is that it’s too much for individuals to monitor every single data point that comes in. We’d like to – because it’s the way we coach the drivers, develop the car, and how we build our strategy as it impacts every part of racing for us, but it’s impossible.
(Ed Green, principal digital architect McLaren)

The data generated by the sensors gets streamed to the FIA, and then to the garage. “They then stream it over the internet, over the cloud, back to the technology center working, where 32 race engineers sit in calm conditions to be able to go and start to make decisions on when the car should pit, what their strategy should be like, to then relate that back to the track side,” James Hodge, global vice president and chief strategy advisor explained.

Formula 1 cars are the pinnacle of automotive technology. Data is driving the behind-the-scenes action as we are watching the race, calculating basically every possible scenario based on the information car sensors provide. Pre-race simulations, post-race analysis, and real-time decision-making are all influenced by real-time data streams. Free practice sessions across a weekend are essential to collect as much data as possible to form the best race strategy for each driver.

Pitstop practices are also optimized using data. Pit stops have always been a crucial part of winning or losing an F1 race, with crews trained to perform any tyre or nose changes requested with the highest precision. Teams can safe important seconds that can make or brake a race by analysing video footage and pit equipment data.

“Over the past year, our work with Splunk has been incredibly beneficial to our team. In the fast-paced and technology-rich environment of Formula 1, data is a core element to our team and integral to how we operate effectively and efficiently. We are delighted to extend our partnership with Splunk, enabling us to continue deploying their expertise and Data-to-Everything platform, providing our team with valuable insights to strengthen our operations and performance.”, Zak Brown has shared.

Headline Image Credit: McLaren

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