Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Technology awash Formula 1 Car Racing Sport

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. 
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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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