Sauber F1 Team rely on FlexPod to gain competitive edge
Formula One race cars are built for one thing: speed. The sport combines extreme sports and the highest levels of technology to produce some of the fastest, most advanced race cars in motorsports. Competition is fierce. Only the top 10 in each race score points toward the world championship title. A position change in the world championship can imply a multi-million rise or drop in money shares. Sometimes more than 12 out of 24 cars are within 1 second of each other during qualifying rounds.
A mere millisecond—0.001 seconds—can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Each time it’s on the track, the Sauber F1 Team collects and analyses large amounts of data, searching for any opportunity to innovate and improve car design and racing strategies. The team relies on its NetApp® storage foundation and other state-of-the-art technologies to make improvements to the car on the track, between races, and throughout the off-season.
At the racetrack, a FlexPod® system, featuring industry-leading technology from NetApp and Cisco, allows the Sauber F1 Team to analyse data from the car’s 100 sensors. As the car races at speeds up to 350 km/h, engineers at the track analyse the data in real time, coaching the driver to help him get the most performance out of his car. “If the FlexPod fails during the race,” says Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering at Sauber Motorsport AG, “we would be completely blind. You’d go back in time to when the driver was doing it alone.”
Between races, on-track testing is not allowed, so the Sauber F1 Team relies entirely on its data. The team uses NetApp MetroCluster™ software at its headquarters to manage and analyse data from the track, acquired through computational fluid dynamics calculations, and wind tunnel testing. Weather and track conditions vary at each race location, so the team uses the historical data, testing, and simulations to design what is effectively a new car for each race. The 99.999% availability of MetroCluster gives the team nonstop access to the data it needs to find that one-millisecond advantage. As a privately funded team, the Sauber F1 Team competes against teams with more resources and higher funding. But with NetApp, the Sauber F1 Team is leveling the playing field and laying the foundation for an agile data infrastructure that will help keep them competitive for years to come. This has been the Sauber F1 Team’s best season in years. After just 13 races, the team had already more than doubled the number of world championship points it earned in 2011. “We have been punching above our weight,” explains Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO and Team Principal of Sauber Motorsport AG, “and by improving our agility we have managed to stay competitive.”
Click here to find out more about how NetApp supports the Sauber F1 team