Following a rollercoaster first season under the new F1 regulations in 2022, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team has made huge strides over the past months and begun the 2023 campaign with three impressive podium finishes. In our discussion with Eric Blandin, the team’s deputy technical director, he explains how data decisions and a certain Spaniard—namely, two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso—helped unleash the newfound pace of the AMR23 race car.
The team’s 2023 entry is a major departure from its predecessor. As Blandin reveals, they’ve “changed more than 90% of the parts” from those found on the AMR22. The engineering journey that led to these dramatic changes required a massive amount of data gathering, storage, and analysis, as well as extensive simulations run at the team’s base in Silverstone, England. To help efficiently store and manage the vast quantities of data involved, AMF1® Team employed a number of NetApp® solutions, from all-flash storage arrays to the FlexPod® platform and NetApp Cloud Insights software.
Another key factor propelling the team’s new technical direction and impressive development was the arrival of Alonso. With over 350 races to his name, the 41-year-old worked closely with the team in the offseason and during testing to maximize the performance of the AMR23.
“Fernando is very experienced,” Blandin explains. “He [gives] very focused feedback and tells us exactly where there may be a problem on the car. Having the driver feedback is a good way to compare if the data you have gathered is in line with what the driver says. A driver like Fernando can pinpoint something that’s actually quite difficult to see in the data.”
Away from the car itself, Aston Martin F1® Team has used data to improve efficiency across various aspects of the organization—efficiency that ultimately affects performance. “We gather data in a lot of areas,” says Blandin. “We try to see where it is most efficient to spend our money, looking at logistics and where to be leaner.… Pit stops are an important part of this as well. F1 generates a massive amount of data; therefore, it is key to effectively and succinctly target where you need to improve.”
With Formula One® teams now operating under a cost cap, efficient spending has never been more important. This new factor, coupled with the existing race regulations, creates an incredibly challenging environment. Blandin elaborates: “[It’s not just] the cost cap, but also the general regulations. For example, in aerodynamics, you are extremely limited... in terms of how much time you can spend in the wind tunnel. [Thankfully] the data generated by simulation helps you maximize the amount of information you can extract and lead you toward the right direction.”
Fortunately, intelligent decision-making informed by data has allowed Aston Martin F1® Team to thrive in these difficult conditions. In fact, the timing of Aston Martin F1® Team’s improved performance could not be better, with the team expected to complete its new, purpose-built factory at Silverstone in May 2023. The improved facilities are expected to enable Aston Martin F1® Team to develop at an even greater pace in the coming years.
Although the 2023 F1 season has only just begun, the outlook for the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team is promising indeed. As a key partner, NetApp will continue to help Aston Martin F1® Team gain speed on and off the track, accelerating its climb to the top.
To learn more about this exciting partnership, visit the NetApp Aston Martin F1® webpage.
As Senior Manager Global Sponsorship, Philip Urban is responsible for the management of NetApp’s motorsport sponsorships including Aston Martin F1, Porsche Formula E, and Ducati in MotoGP. With a broad international background in sports marketing, Philip has a demonstrated track record of setting up global partnerships for success and driving measurable business results.