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Big Data in Practice by Bernard Marr

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7 LOTUS F1 TEAM How Big Data Is Essential To The Success Of Motorsport Teams

Background

Velocity is one of the defining characteristics of Big Data, and there are few situations in which speed is more imperative than motorsports. Across all levels of the sport, from NASCAR and Formula One to grassroots karting, teams and race organizers are employing ever more sophisticated data-driven strategies. In this case, we look at Formula One team Lotus F1.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

Data isn’t a new thing in Formula One racing: telemetry has been in use since the 1980s to stream live data from the car to engineers in the pit lane. Thomas Mayer, COO of the Lotus F1 team, tells me: “Formula One has always been on the cutting edge of technological development so it was natural that data analysis would become a big thing for us. It saves us time and money: instead of having to rely on trial and error, we have real data…”

As well as saving the team time and money, Big Data helps them shave precious split-seconds off lap times, providing a more thrilling spectacle for spectators.

How Is Big Data Used In Practice?

As Mayer says, “We are collecting and analysing a lot of data. We’re not talking gigabytes or terabytes but petabytes.”

All this data can be used to make real-time adjustments to every aspect of the car and to align it with the driver’s performance. During testing, using data streamed by the cars, the team can make decisions on what to tweak or change in the ...

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