The second edition of the Indian Grand Prix (Formula 1 Racing) is due this October 26-28. TV ads are increasing in frequency and so is the buzz around the second race to be held at the Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi.
A causal conversation with friends led to a debate on which sport leverages technology to the maximum. Formula 1 racing pipped the rest to the top. This led me to do a quick check on the facts.
Formula 1 racing uses almost every advance that technology provides.
- Typically about 20 races are held in a year and the remaining time is spent by the F1 teams in trying to improve every small aspect of the racing machine to provide incremental boost to the driver
- Aerodynamics of the Formula 1 racing car is the #1 area of focus. Supercomputers for Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation that replace wind tunnels and help the R&D teams to study changes to a car's stability, speed and maneuverability resulting from changes to the design. These supercomputers pack the processing power equivalent to 40,000 modern day PCs - about 40 tera flops of processing power. There is also an upper limit that is set by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) governing body.About 40% of a R&D team typically is focused on this single area.
- There are close to 100-150 sensors embedded across the car's body which pump out telemetry data during a race continually to the pit crew. The pit crew is a full-time staff of half a dozen engineers and mathematicians devoted to analyzing the right combination of fuel load and tire changes and when and how many pit stops to make during a race. They use the telemetry data to analyze car performance and relay feedback to the driver.
- Simulation is also used to design the F1 track. Computers are extensively used to understand and simulate the kind of G-Forces experienced by drivers during the turns and bends and keep these forces within sport's regulations.
Here's a video that shows more for the tech fanatic in you....
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