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Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Apr 2013   |  12:08 pm GMT  |  112 comments

While they work behind the scenes on their car ahead of the start of the European season, Mercedes is aiming to be three times faster than the opposition when it comes to the increasingly important area of transferring data from the car at the race track to the factory and back again.

And a new deal announced today could ultimately lead to F1 teams taking smaller numbers of staff to the race track in future.

Mercedes has become the first F1 team to follow the lead of Formula One Management, which signed a deal last year with Tata Communications, for fixed line connectivity at every track on the F1 calendar. In time it is thought that the world-feed TV signal could be carried via the company’s fibre optic cable ring around the world, rather than satellites.

As far as Mercedes are concerned, the new deal will allow them to to transfer real-time data from the cars at any Grand Prix location to the factory in Brackley, three times faster than at present. The improved trackside connectivity will enable the team to react more quickly to developments at the track and will help to increase car performance, according to Team Principal Ross Brawn,

“Formula One relies on data and the ability to transfer our data from the track back to our factories in Brackley and Brixworth quickly and securely,” he said. “The Tata Communications global network will play a key role in the team’s performance and our ability to react over the race weekends. That we will now be able to achieve our data transfer requirements three times faster is fantastic.”

High speed connectivity at race tracks is an area where there is a lot of growth to come, not just for F1′s TV coverage and for teams, but for fans as well. Being able to use second screens and other wi-fi powered devices while sitting in the grandstands will ultimately enhance the fan experience, opening doors to greater interactivity with teams and drivers during race weekends.

For F1 teams another benefit of the arrival of fixed line connectivity is that it will allow them to have fewer people travelling to races, which is very expensive. As Lotus Technical director James Allison observed on the JA on F1 Podcast #5 last year, “Many of the (engineer) roles at the circuit don’t actually need to be at the circuit, other than because currently that’s where the data is and that’s where the information is.

“So having a fat enough communication pipe back to your factory allows you the opportunity to place that engineering support back in the factory rather than at the circuit. And that saves a lot of money in terms of travelling people around the world.”

Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director, F1 Business, Tata Communications added that it the deal with Mercedes is an example of a telco coming in as a partner of an F1 team and actually making the car go faster, “The modification and improvement of car set-up and handling is a constant during the race season and being able to share richer data and report issues back from trackside to the factory in real-time provides a competitive edge in car performance, both in speed and also in handling and stability.

“By providing three times faster connectivity for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS via Tata Communications’ global network means that the team has access to secure and agile trackside connectivity regardless of race location – showcasing our expertise and speed to lead when it comes to global connectivity, and reinforces our ongoing commitment to technology innovation within Formula One.”

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112 Comments
  1. dufus says:

    3 times as fast…..bwahhhhaaaa

    1. Brendan says:

      Indeed.

      “3x Faster” would indicate their latency drops from… oh, 90 ms to 30 ms. Big deal!

      What is more important is their pipe is now ~3x wider. Not 3x faster (although latency probably has dropped). Being 3x wider, it enables a complete dataset to be transferred in 1/3rd the time.

      The same could be accomplished by using 3x the number of satellite uplink/downlink channels as at present.

      1. Brendan says:

        Stupid me didn’t exactly explain the line of my thinking – the point being – while its a nice little media stunt – its not a seismic shift in technology the other teams cannot easily replicate.

        They’d probably get as much (if not much more) joy looking at their data compression algorithms.

        :-)

      2. Martin says:

        Nice points. I imagine the main data advantage is related to Friday running and coming up with new settings for P3. A small time saving would be nice to have, but it would more be a case of whether it is practical to send the data back or not given the volumes. There may still be a need to filter out the rubbish at the track and then compress what is valuable

      3. Wayne says:

        No, what matters is that next year’s car will top 600 mph on the straights – and people said that HAM moving to Mercedes was a mistake. Ha! Who’s laughing now! Although I only read the headline, I assume that’s the gist of it.

      4. Tony says:

        I think you may find that the switch from satellite links to fixed lines will yield more than you think. A geosync satellite is about 36,000 km away, getting the data up there and back again takes a significant amount of time even at light-speed (300,000 km/s). If you are on the opposite side of the world you need to bounce around a number of satellites making it take even longer. So latency will be greatly reduced and as anyone with any comms knowledge knows, latency is directly proportional to actual throughput (not line speed).

      5. grat says:

        Satellite latency tends to be pretty bad. Switching to a hard line should dramatically reduce latency and simultaneously boost bandwidth. The real question is, is there enough bandwidth at all 19 venues for 22 teams + FOM?

  2. dufus says:

    Interesting, so does this mean that because data is more realtime that the team at the factory will have greater input for strategy decisions as opposed to just the pit crew ?

    1. James Allen says:

      I guess the faster the better for everyone, right?

      Same things are happening in the business world and with international companies etc, as far as I can see

      As Ross B is fond of saying, “Performance is power”

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        James , I know this is off topic but Pirelli running a test car this year? If so what is it?

      2. James Allen says:

        I don’t believe so.

        There was some unhappiness with Lotus getting benefit from running Alguersuari last year

    2. Robert N says:

      I think 3 times faster just means that they can transfer more data per second. Rather like your broadband at home. So while the other teams might be stuck at 100 Gbit/s, Mercedes can now send their data at 300 Gbit/s. (These numbers are fictional.)

      It would be interesting if James could shed some more light on the true numbers.

      1. Tim says:

        Wouldn’t that be 3 x faster then?

      2. Quercus says:

        I agree. I guess for commercial confidentiality reasons there’s little useful info in this article. 3x faster than what? What does it mean in practical terms — how quickly can info from the car be used back at the factory and result in a useful change to the car’s race strategy or performance characteristics (the latter being more important during practice, for rule reasons, I would guess)?

  3. lethalnz says:

    OMG i thought they were going to go 900ks an hour on the next outing, bugger, so disappointing.

    sounds very interesting for the future though, great feeds plus lightning fast updates for those that want more from there phones.

    just hope them sort out there tyre problems.

  4. JimmiC says:

    Great news Lewis. You can tweet Nico’s telemetry THREE TIMES faster than you could before.

    1. Mitchel says:

      +1

      Great stuff he he

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Haha thats a good 1, but jokes aside good to see Mercedes making progress on and off the track, competition at the front is always healthy. The worrying thing is why are Merc shifting their attention to next season from next month? Bit early would you not say James?

    3. Ruki says:

      comment of the day..! :D

      1. Le Mister says:

        HAHA! Yes :)

    4. LT says:

      But then who’d want to use telemetry that gets you from 1st to 10th? :P

  5. 180110 says:

    Somebody should sponsor Kimi Raikkonen’s radio messages during the race.

    1. Simmo says:

      Hahaha!! Imagine Kimi’s reaction to it every time he heard it!

      “Yes yes yes I’ve already bought some now leave me alone”

    2. cos says:

      “If Carlsberg did radio messages….”

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Smirnoff?

      1. KRB says:

        Err, Finlandia?

  6. The next Technology is for the bandwidth to be big enough so that the drivers can be in the simulator and racing remote cars on the track??

    The future generation is that they do not need to attend the track but race each other form their simulators and Bernie has no income…..

    At some point the technology becomes too important….

    1. Mitchel says:

      [mod]
      I like the thought of the existential crisis that might occur for the drivers with your scenario :)

    2. Wayne says:

      That point already three or four years ago in F1.

  7. JackL says:

    Hopefully the car will go faster on track too.

  8. Rich B says:

    sounds impressive, now they’ll be able to tell the factory 3 times quicker the car still chews its tyres too much no matter what they do, very handy.

  9. McLaren78 says:

    James,
    When will they be able to start using this technology? Immediately, in 5 reaces, next year?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question! It doesn’t say. But as it’s plumbed in for FOM already, I guess straight away. I’ll check

  10. Schnell! schnell! says:

    Cunning headline!

    1. Simmo says:

      +1. I thought they were developing a mega-car!!

    2. Matt says:

      I’d go more down the road of misleading.

  11. BRad says:

    Thats great news! I hope it leads to better live data feeds to viewers around the world.

    As far as increasing speeds on the track, they’ll have to sort these Pirellis out First!

  12. madmax says:

    “High speed connectivity at race tracks is an area where there is a lot of growth to come, not just for F1′s TV coverage and for teams”

    Problem is the vast majority of viewers in the UK and other European markets are stuck watching delayed highlights which means you can’t use f1 timing or any other type of media.

  13. Pad-Rock says:

    “Being able to use second screens and other wi-fi powered devices while sitting in the grandstands will ultimately enhance the fan experience …” before they get there, they could start by re-introducing the existing Fanvision handsets. That has actually put me off attending a race this year, as I found in invaluable whilst at Spa a few years ago – would have been very confused without it!

    1. Sebastian says:

      Yeah, what happened with that. Seems like a crap move by FOM. I thought they wanted to IMPROVE the experience. Not take away from it…

  14. Craig in Manila says:

    Can someone with some tech understanding please quantify (for me at least) the “three times faster” part.

    Will the data get to the factory-based recipient hours faster than it currently does ? Minutes faster ? Or just a second or two faster ?

    James : With Tata Communications being a sponsor of your site, will you be able to utilise their technology to get your updates online faster ? Just joking ! :-)

    1. Ben says:

      I think it’s very ambiguous, it really depends on how they are currently transmitting their data.

      There are two ways to approach it – latency and bandwidth. Bandwidth only comes into play when the data is quite large, I suspect in the case of telemetry it is small so presumably they are talking about providing connections back to Merc that have three times the capacity of what they are using now (Satellite?)

      They also have to be sure that they can max out that bandwidth, it may not be possible to do so in all locations. I assume Tata will have a local connection via a local provider to the circuit and then use their leased lines back to a central hub and then back to the UK. So from Melbourne you could be on a number of hops and a number of different providers, and you would be in their hands really hoping that they aren’t doing maintenance over the weekend.

      In terms of latency it’s so difficult to quantify, Monza has about 35ms delay to reaching the UK, whereas Abu Dhabi, for instance, on a really good connection will have about 350ms. Ferrari will have about 6ms to Monza so Tata can’t say they can beat by three times. Actually Ferrari had to run most of last year’s race over this connection.

      At a guess data off the car is not going to be more than 30Mb/s as it will have to come down wirelessly at the circuit, throw in another 10Mb/s for tyre and circuit info from external sensors and I guess that from the European races they will get the data around 20-30 seconds after they would do at the circuit. For the flyaway races it’s really in the hands of those external providers and the delays could be quite big.

      1. Robert says:

        Latency only matters to gamers and for real-time control. It would be very important if, for example, critical areas of the car’s performance were being adjusted many times per second from a remote computer. That is not going to happen, to much risk of a link failure. So…this then is all about the pipes being wider…and frankly, I am shocked that it is only 3 times better than the satellite link. I would have expected a larger differential…perhaps as much as an order of magnitude. So I expect Tata is rationing the available bandwidth of the fibre link, so that they can auction it off in chunks to each team, each chunk being exactly 3 times the performance of the existing link, at a nearly competitive price.

      2. Ben says:

        Latency can be important if they are transmitting lots of tiny chunks of data. If the latency is high they may not be able to fill their bandwidth allowance.

        I think the big advantage is that they have a partner who is present in each race location and can spread the cost of the international leased lines across other areas of their business for the rest of the year so the teams get it at a good price. Some of the places they go and race have VERY pricy leased line costs even for F1 standards and it would be very difficult to get less than a 12 month contract let alone one weekend a year.

        It all makes sense apart from the 3 times “faster” line.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I’d forgotten about Ferrari at Monza.
        So for 2013, they sign up with UPS, whereas Mercedes sign up with Tata…
        Should the tifosi be worried?

      4. I know says:

        If they currently communicate via satellite, the delays are much longer (about a second for the round-trip). On the other hand, the data rate from sensors during the race is probably less than 1 MB/s. I cannot see how bandwidth between the track and the factory is an issue, so I assume the improvement is in terms of latency.

        During free practice, where teams run their own onboard cameras etc., bandwidth could be an issue. However, a factor of three improvement in bandwidth is nothing to write home about. Unlike latency, if you want faster, you just buy more.

    2. Quade says:

      No, the current download speed would just be 3 times faster.

      Data is a very important area of F1 as each car transmits about 1.3 terabytes of data per race to the super computers in the factory. Thats enough data to completely fill up 3 average modern computers in one race!
      The super computers churn out race strategy, car balance etc depending on parameters fed in by geeks and other creatures who dont know much about sunlight. :)

      1. John M says:

        According to this site:

        http://www.informatics.buzdo.com/p946_formula_1_race_car.htm

        the car (2012)generates about 2-3 TB of data in a “year” and that the actual speed from the car is 200kB/s, which would be pretty comfortable for the average ADSL service.

        I think Ben’s comments are more relevant, and this deal has a bit of spin to it.

        The key is probably that the new service from Tata is cheaper and more reliable. I don’t think that moving the data is a big issue. It is more the reliability and availability of the service, and Tata can provide this. It’s funny that a high tech industry like F1 has probably been using the cheap and cheerful data services and so has moved their people and computers around the world.

        They seem to have only just caught up with what a serious data service is…

      2. John M says:

        BTW…. My PC has 6 terabytes of storage, so its not much now days… for a home user is costs < $400 …. of course a lot more for a commercial installation, but still not much…. less that a set of brakes.

      3. Quade says:

        @John M
        Sorry, but you are totally wrong. Just google “F1 big data” and keep away from dodgy websites with false info. Big data is measured in terabytes and petabytes (truly frightening sizes), its not something for any old ADSL connection.
        Also, there is no average PC with a 6 terabyte hard drive. The average hard drive is about 360 gigabytes only.

        Further, every F1 track has the very best ADSL connections, yet that is a mere trickle compared to the sorts of speeds teams need. Proof? The kind of specialised contract Merc is doing with Tata.
        I’m sure Merc would also rather pay a tiny ADSL bill than fly engineers and their kit across the Globe to process data on site, because they’ve found data links too slow.

        To sum up, if Tata’s network cannot shift 1.3 terabutes of data over a race period, then it is of no use to any F1 team.

        Now, here are sites whose word you can rely on for the amount of data a single F1 car transmits per race:
        http://www.zdnet.com/big-data-in-formula-1-racing-7000006919/
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2012/11/17/formula-1-austin-big-data-f1/

      4. Ben says:

        I think you would be lucky to copy 1.3 terabytes from one sata disk to another even if they were on the same interface within the timeframe of a race.

        Here we have cars which are going in and out of each access point around the circuit at high speed and transmitting what they can in that time. As above 200kb/s sounds reasonable.

        The cars may generate 1.3 terabytes of data and it gets downloaded in the garage directly from the car but current wireless tech just can’t do big transfers in a reasonable timeframe.

        Try copying a 1GB file at home over a wireless network and it will take around 5 mins or so and your laptop won’t be moving at 300kmh!

      5. John M says:

        @Ben,

        I agree with much of what you say, but I’m not sure where the 1.3TB comes from and as per my second post to Quade, I cant find it reliably quoted in his source. I would love to know exactly how much a car generates, but my point is that the real time data coming from the car can easily be managed by a relatively modest BW back to the factory. Other posts talked about on board camera footage which would be downloaded from the car in the pits for analysis, but surely even here we would only be talking about a few laps, so maybe 10 mins of HD video, again not a big bandwidth user and also not in the heat of battle so not as time dependent. As I said earlier I think this deal is about a much improved data service compared to what they use now and the speed issue has a element of spin. I may be wrong and I stand to be corrected… Maybe James could do an article on “McLaren Electronics” some time in the future for those of us that are into that kind of stuff?

      6. James Allen says:

        I’d like to and they seem interested

      7. John M says:

        @Ben

        for what it is worth, the site below quotes:

        “During a 90 minute session the team will collect between 5 and 6 gigabytes of raw compressed format data from the one car.”

        http://www.formula1-dictionary.net/telemetry.html

      8. John M says:

        @ Quade

        Quade I believe that I am correct and that you are in fact wrong.

        Firstly, I cant find any quantitative information on either of the links that you provided. the nearest is the author saying “When all is said and done I’d expect that each race would require terabytes of data”. This sounds more like his estimation rather than a fact. He also sites this amazing printout of a graph and provides a link to a “Detailed Post” on “Telemetry and Data Analysis”. All of this is on a chart that would represent a few KB of data.

        Your second link only provides a chart, which in the top left hand corner quotes:

        “The cost of shaving one tenth of a second from a single lap time exceeds $100,000,000.”

        Gee, F1 is more expensive than I ever realised. Also note that the source for this quote is “Vanity Fair”. Perhaps not the most informed commentator on F1.

        I also suggest that you look at the Western Digital web site where you will see that multi Terabyte hard drives for PCs are indeed quite affordable.

        http://store.westerndigital.com/store/wdau/DisplayHomePage

        By the way I had another look, and I indeed do have 6TB on my PC.

        Lastly, I was not suggesting that an ADSL service was appropriate to run a F1 team on, I was only pointing out that it is the type of BW that is required to move the amounts of data coming from the car, in real time. As with the rest of my earlier post, I believe that what Tata has put on the table is a highly available, highly reliable data service.

        Everyone gets carried away because Optic Fibre is mentioned, but Tata is only selling a small part of that capacity to Merc. What the Optic Fibre does do is to allow Tata to aggregate lots of Merc type streams on the one infrastructure and put the hardware in place to make the network self healing, hence high availability…….

      9. Quade says:

        Nah, you are very wrong. Like I suggested, google “F1 big data,” see how seriously the Big Data players are taking F1, then check the meaning of Big Data (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data). I could be wrong, but only in the cautious estimate I have provided though, whispers actually have it at up to 30 terabytes per car, per race.

        Elsewhere on this page I made the quote below about a presentation on F1 and Big Data; note both the title of the presentation and the tectonic calibre of the main speakers at the event:

        “These were the main spekers at the conference I mentioned above; they are all IT gods:

        Import.io beta launch – David White, Founder and CEO
        Google Compute Engine – Marc Cohen, Developer Program Engineer
        Apache Drill – Ted Dunning, Chief Application Architect

        http://strataconf.com/strataeu/public/schedule/detail/26963#comment_5496

        The conference above mentioned that F1 data is gathered across varied 1700 channels.
        From experience in following F1, teams also send detailed, real-time recordings of each others engine sounds, hi-res photos/ videos of cars (theirs and others) at areas of interest (eg corners) etc. Its not just things like engine temperatures they send back. As a concrete example, Merc and Ferarri were able to detect Red Bulls illegal engine maps on race day, through engine recordings.

        F1 is a miracle of technology, and it is data driven. As you note with the “one tenth of a second,” it is truly awe inspiring in epic ways. If I were the President of a developing country, I would get a foot in the F1 door; it is a sure-fire way of acquiring high tech secrets on the cheap.

        By the way, I sort of guessed you might be mistaken about your hard drive capacity. 6 terabytes would only be available on a purpose built, monster machine; something of HPC standards.

    3. Craig D says:

      I imagine it’s easier to view it as they can get 3 times as much data across in the same amount of time.

    4. SteveH says:

      Yeah. So instead of 10mb/sec the data transfers at 30mb/sec. Big deal.

    5. matt says:

      They generate on average 25GB of data across the race weekend which needs to be transmitted and processed back at the factory. Rather than explain it read the following technical case study from Sauber and Net App. http://www.netapp.com/us/system/pdf-reader.aspx?pdfuri=tcm:10-104488-16&m=cs-sauber-na-164-1112.pdf

      1. Quade says:

        That might be for the likes of Marussia nad Caterham only. The top F1 teams transmit terabytes of data per car, per race.

        This is an except from a presentation at a Big Data conference, and its surely not a measely 25GB:

        “In this hyper-competitive environment differences are measured in hundredths of seconds and how you use data to inform decisions can win or lose you races. We demonstrate how race strategy uses telematics (some 1,700 data channels), live timing and GPS data to track circuit position, and even broadcast TV to uncover intelligence on your competitors setups to plan, track and recalibrate strategy throughout a race in real time.

        We’ll show how the techniques and principles used to underpin Race Strategy have translated successfully to industry. These include: 1. Acquiring relevant data 2. Recognising hidden patterns 3. Leveraging insights in real time 4. Continuously evolving your strategy 5. Using data to reshaping your competitive landscape”

        http://strataconf.com/strataeu/public/schedule/detail/26030

      2. Quade says:

        These were the main spekers at the conference I mentioned above; they are all IT gods:

        Import.io beta launch – David White, Founder and CEO
        Google Compute Engine – Marc Cohen, Developer Program Engineer
        Apache Drill – Ted Dunning, Chief Application Architect

        http://strataconf.com/strataeu/public/schedule/detail/26963#comment_5496

      3. Ben says:

        I’m sorry but they simply do not transmit terabytes per race. Even dark fibre (which has limited coverage) wouldn’t be able to do a TB in less than a day.

        5/6 GB off each car as stated above sounds good to me. Even if they got a steady 56Mb/s connection around the circuit then they are going to get a maximum of 18GB of data per hour. They have no chance of getting a steady connection.

        Maybe they have micro 256GB ssd’s in each wheel hub that then upload the data after they do a pitstop? :)

        Certainly not definitive in any way but I just spent 30 mins in the iracing Williams F1 and had the Mclaren telemetry tool running. It’s the same used up until last year for F1, it created a 1.1GB file for those 30 mins.

        http://www.iracing.com/iracing-partners-with-mclaren-electronic-systems-for-online-racing-data-analysis/

      4. Quade says:

        Sorry, but mere gigabytes of data is not classed as Big Data, yet there is serious interest in F1 from the Worlds top Big Data players, including Google engineers. Those people are not foolish; Big Data is measured between the terabyte and exabyte range.

        By the way, dark fiber is just unused capacity from pre-existing networks. It is not a dedicated network; even then, dark fibre power some of the links between googles data centers. So you are way off in what you think capacities are.

        I’m sure you don’t really think any F1 team would release their telemetry tool to Joe Public either.

      5. James Allen says:

        Google had a good look around the F1 paddock in Brazil last November

  15. IJW says:

    Aren’t Tata Communications, the reason why the trake-side communications is a bit wacky at the moment?
    If so, I would of thought Mercedes would of been better waiting until they (Tata) sorted out these problems.

    1. IJW says:

      “trake-side” should of been “track-side”. Sorry about that.

  16. mhilgtx says:

    I bet those engineers that will now have to be home won’t like this at all. Other than that Fiber is awesome, I have had it for years and it is lightning fast.

    1. Blanchimont says:

      I suspect it would be a mixed reaction. For every engineer that loves the travel aspect of F1 I am sure for some it is actually incredibly tough on their family lives and they’d welcome the ability to be involved in race weekend action without having to be at the track all the time.

      1. mhilgtx says:

        Yeah I was kind of kidding.

  17. Bones says:

    While they’re at it, I wouldn’t mind them stopping at my house and plugging me in as well.

  18. Grant says:

    Maybe they should just focus on the tyre chewing problem (which they’ve had for more than 3 years now)…

    Chances are they don’t really know how to fix this problem.

    1. Me says:

      If they’ve had it for 3 years doesn’t that suggest it’s not a simple solution to fix?

      1. Grant says:

        Other teams have sorted it out.

        Is that because they are smarter?

      2. CHIUNDA says:

        Possibly

  19. Andrew says:

    this changes everything

  20. MJSib says:

    Probably a good job the Mercedes isn’t going 3 times as fast. Imagine how quick they’d burn through their tyres!

  21. Quade says:

    On the day the data link crashes, Merc would be really, really sorry!

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      So true because that will surely happen … and the timing will not be convenient.

  22. Anton says:

    Still, the bottleneck is still the human, the man in the middle of it all.

  23. John M says:

    This sounds a little odd…. Telemetry (generally speaking) is not a lot of data and does not need a lot of bandwidth. e.g. the car is only transmitting data over a radio link, so the feed to headquaters does not need to be any faster than that, so not very fast I would think….

    1. Alex W says:

      EXACTLY

  24. Zombie says:

    I hope they relay some of the information to viewers as well, and maybe teams can have portals that are interactive so fans can “make” their own realtime race strategies for fun and see how it compared to the team’s strategy at the end of the day.

  25. Craig D says:

    Haha. 3 times as fast eh, but they’ll wear their tyres out 3 times as fast too! :P

  26. Henk says:

    Very interesting article. I’m just wondering how they are going to do it in case of a fibre failure. Many countries in the world have their fibre on posts and it just takes a truck to hit a post to disconnect the fibre.

    If they suddenly have a 3 times slower connection (going back to the previous situation) what will the impact be on their operations? Since the engineers are no longer on track…

  27. For an international company, you’d think they’d be aware of slang terms in major markets before they decided on a name for their business. At the least they’ll get some grins here in the Colonies. eh? :-)

  28. Oz Geezza says:

    Mr Allen,is Tata Comunication also acquired
    the rights for the F1 telemetry last year,if
    so it begs a question,why beat the drum of
    being able to download three times faster then
    currently avalable and by the same token not
    being able to fix the telemetry problem thus
    far, please can you shed some light.

    1. James Allen says:

      As far as I know the problem is not in TC’s area.

  29. coronwen says:

    Going off on a tangent …

    James, can you explain how your 5 Live commentary, the FIA picture feed etc get to Joe Public at present. I watch RTL pictures in the UK with your 5 Live commentary from the internet when the BBC isn’t showing the race live. They are never in sync! But the delay varies – you can be anything from 5 secs to 30 secs behind, never in front. I can also watch on SkyGo (though I don’t) and that’s always at least a minute behind.

    Is it because everyone is using different satellites? Is it processing speed? I would’ve thought it would take longer for all the data for RTL’s pictures to get to Germany, get processed, get sent back up to a satellite to come down to me, than your commentary to get to the BBC and get streamed out to the internet again. I’m confused!

    Will your commentary be carried by Tata’s fibre optics? Will everything end up in sync?!?!

    1. James Allen says:

      Great question – I have no idea!

      I’ll find out.

    2. Justin says:

      I have no idea how the race feed works because FOM controls the only feed for that and i have no idea what they do. But i imagine it involves satellites; and if you’re receiving the signal via a dish then it’s probably going directly from FOM’s broadcast truck to RTL’s truck via physical connection, then to their satellite and straight to your house.

      Meanwhile the BBC commentary involves going from the track to the BBC’s web streaming site, where some sort of processing must be done to it to get it on the site and in the iPlayer format. then you have to get it through your own personal network; which could be wireless or wired or not set up entirely correctly, i know mine isn’t optimized. then through your internet connection to your ISP and at whatever speed you bought your connection for. And with whatever other packet shaping and throttling your ISP does.

      That’s 2 parties using satellites and one direct connection vs 3 parties, a formatting and uploading process of some kind, and 3 different types of network. I’m surprised it’s only that far behind.

      1. coronwen says:

        Justin, I’m sure you’re right on 5 Live/BBC/Internet. But RTL are broadcasting to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and others. Multiple channels, some HD. They have commercial breaks too – some full screen, some picture in picture with the F1 stream, and some of the commercials seem quite localised – supermarket offers etc. So I’d be surprised if all that dissemination were being done in the F1 paddock. I think it’s more likely the pictures do go back to Germany before being uploaded to the satellites.

    3. Alex W says:

      When we had analogue TV broadcasts it was live, ie: at the speed of light. With Digital we have a processing delay, which is about half a second, then the signal is sent at the speed of light, but can be processed again and again on some instances, this can add up to several seconds over multiple networks.

  30. Richard says:

    When I read the headline I thought yippie, but came down to earth rather quickly when I realised it was simply data transfer. Fibre optic is good though, and the only answer so far in some quarter. However rather than say performance is power, I would say knowledge is power. For example if one knew just how to tweek Mercedes suspension geometry to reduce the energy input that really is power, and there will be those that know precisely the requirement like those bods at Lotus. I suspect it is the precise attitude of the tyre in relation the road surface in all three axes, and I also suspect it only needs very minor adjust to correct, but move it the wrong direction and one instantly makes it worse. Good luck to those at Mercedes.

  31. Pranav says:

    3 times as fast eh? I’m sure they’ll successfully ramp up the speed to make it 2 times as fast, then concentrate on next year to make everything go 4 times as fast. Then for the next 3-5 years, the Brackley team will be stuck at twice the current speed, with them throwing away half of the year to work on the next year’s data transfer speeds, all the while being slower than any other team spending even half of what they spend.

    Rinse and repeat for the nest 10 years. When the IT world finds the next big communication holy grail, Ross Brawn will find a loophole in the communication protocols and grab headlines while the rest of the paddock whines about the spirit of the protocols.

    What a joke. They have again announced that 50% of their workforce will be working on the ’14 car by May. This is the one team that consistently has more people working on the next year’s car rather than the current car, EVERY YEAR.

  32. Val from montreal says:

    Anything to get headlines … Mercedes should realize that WINNING makes the most headlines of all …

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      To be fair, Mercedes do not write the headlines. People like James do.

  33. alaric says:

    The potential gains from this development are huge.
    Why stop at leaving a few Engineers back at base?
    With a few more updates which I think are already in the pipeline, it will possible to retain the whole team and cars back at base, and conduct the practice, quali and race on the simulators with graphics back up.
    It would make a real contribution to reducing the sport’s carbon footprint, and most ‘fans’ would probably not notice.

  34. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    “Three times faster… connectivity”!!!

    I thought for the article’s headline it was the car… :)

  35. Methusalem says:

    What Mercedes needs is cooling the damn heating tyres!

  36. Quade says:

    Hi James. Can you do an article on telemetry in F1?

    I think it would be a good idea, especially as F1 is suddenly the darling of Big Data firms, just as Big Data is the new high tech buzz.

  37. Frankie says:

    James sorry to go off topic, but this questions been bugging me. Had Alonso’s DRS broken at Monza could he have continued the race with it wide open legally?

    1. KRB says:

      If he had come in, and they couldn’t get it back into place, they could not have sent him out, if that’s what you’re asking. And if he had activated it, and they knew it was wrong, he couldn’t have kept going around. When it first happened, he kept going for I think three laps (which was remarkable in itself).

      Who knows what radio communication was going on between driver and team, and team and Race Control, in that time. I’m sure RC told them that he would have to come in, or be black-flagged.

  38. JohnBt says:

    Whaaaaaaaaaaa! I got caught by the headline….if it’s the car Nico and Lewis will be in the boat drinking champagne before the others cross the finish line.

    Good one James. LOL.

  39. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    The advantages listed here are not enough to warrant such a headline. And don’t be telling me it’s about having less people at the track because they cost so much to fly around the world! Good Lord, the car costs would be much higher. One front wing costs 10s of thousands of dollars, and they update these nearly every race. Nup!
    So, maybe it’s just a media beat up to take the pressure of the tyre issues they are having? There is more to it than meets the eye! Either that, i’m getting paranoid in my old age. :)

  40. Elie says:

    Nice article- I .It’s unbelievable that people ask how the data is currently sent when you clearly stated- satellite. Fact is if you have 1 meg or 100mb will always be faster with a fixed line fibre optic cable. Satellites are not fixed and therefore you cannot retain the same signal strength whilst the data is travelling further via broader space.this making it much less reliable also. Great news as F1 needs to see greater cost cutting measures like this.

    It will be fantastic to be able to carry devices fed with live feeds at the track with more information. Save you running for the big screens when your at the track or watching it on the Internet if its televised live

  41. Gino says:

    if service goes down there goes the race. Reliability is key and not relying on infrastructure that can go south makes a lot of sense. That is why we still see pit boards.

  42. I know says:

    Like many things in F1, this is mostly marketing – but there is a grain of truth to it.

    Bandwidth is currently limited by the transfer rate between the car and trackside computers, and that’s not going to change.

    As long as cars cannot be adjusted remotely but teams rely on spoken radio messages to communicate with the car and driver, satellite latency between the pit wall and the factory is also no really big issue – but a move from satellite (round trip latency around 1s) to land based connection (round trip latency less than 0.1s) could still mean that strategy calls based on computer models get to drivers about a second faster. There are race situations where this makes a difference, and where decisions that previously had to be made at the trackside can now be made at the factory.

  43. Ravi says:

    A bit disappointed by the misleading headline. It suggests something else, but the content is completely different !

    Not that I won’t have read the article had it said its about technology and not misled me into believing its about going three times as faster on the TRACK !

  44. Danny Almonte says:

    Mercedes are a solid top four F1 team at the moment. They need any advantage they can get.

    Those mid-fielders, McLaren are struggling to keep pace with Force India at the moment. Teams have to innovate or risk sinking down the order.

  45. Tim says:

    It will be interesting to see the benefits, if any. We live in an age of data. It’s never been cheaper, but information still comes at a premium. I have a feeling the difference between the front running teams and the rest is the ability to glean the information from the data. So far, there isn’t any technology that can do that.

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