BT TECHNOLOGY AND WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

BT is an Official Partner of Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing is one of the most successful and well known Formula One teams in the world. Having won 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles, it’s the third most successful team on the grid, and one of the best known.

The Williams Martini Racing team now relies on us to connect the race team from trackside around the world to the race operations centre in Grove, Oxfordshire (UK).

With each race producing between 60 and 80 GB of raw data that needs to be sent securely and analysed in real time, high-speed secure connections are of paramount importance. Our global network is delivering a 100Mbps connection speed from every test and race venue. By sharing and analysing very large quantities of data - in real time, team members in different locations can now work together to improve car performance.  we have enabled engineers at Grove to receive real time data from the car during practises, in qualifying rounds, and in the race itself and communicate with the team at the track more effectively. This means the whole team can make the most of the car’s performance.

Background to our partnership with Williams Martini Racing

Formula One is all about reacting quickly to ever-changing circumstances. During the race, speed, on and off the track is equally important. Gigabytes of data generated from the race need to be turned into actionable insights quickly in order to deliver real-time advice to the drivers.

Shaving off thousandths of a second from lap times are what stands between winning and losing. More than 60 people in the Williams Martini Racing team work together during each race. Instant and reliable data transfer is essential for successful collaboration between the team in Grove, those at the trackside and the drivers.

Why we were chosen as a technology partner

We are one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Our global network plays a critical role in securely streaming between 60 and 80 GB of raw data from the track and pit stops at top speeds of 100Mbps. We’re enabling higher-speed remote access to information and improving the performance and reliability of demanding computing processes, for example running up to 10,000 race simulations per minute. These include applications relying on video, telemetry and voice.

The Williams Martini Racing team now use our high performance network services globally, facilitating secure and high speed communication as well as effective collaboration.

 

CASE STUDY - NEAR REAL TIME RACE DATA IS NOW POSSIBLE AT VIRTUALLY ANY DISTANCE.

Today’s Formula One regulations restrict the number of technical personnel racing teams can have working at the track. To stay competitive, they have to have additional experts like analysts and aerodynamicists working as part of the team back at their HQs, often thousands of miles away.

A high-speed BT network provides Williams Martini Racing with digital connections from every Formula One circuit across the planet to the technicians at its base in Grove, Oxfordshire. Now, with accelerated worldwide data transfer, the entire team sees the possibilities of a time-critical competitive advantage.

BT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION POWERS RACING POTENTIAL ON THE TRACK.

 Formula for success from two top brands.

Formula One runs through Claire Williams’ veins. “You come to a race track and you hear a car fire up for the first time and the blood pumps faster,” she says.

Williams Martini Racing, of which Claire is Deputy Team Principal and Commercial Director, is one of the world’s most successful Formula One teams. Synonymous with top-flight motorsport, the team has won 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles, nine for constructors and seven for drivers.

But, today, digital transformation is crucial to staying out in front in the racing world. BT and Williams – two global companies and two great British brands – entered into partnership in March 2015. Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer at Williams Martini Racing, says: “We race around the globe and we wanted a global partner who’s an expert in their field. BT brings us that.”

 

Enormous importance of the network.

The team lined up behind the two drivers and their cars numbers hundreds of people including engineers, analysts, and aerodynamicists. Williams creates every car part apart from the Mercedes power unit. 

Today, in the interests of fairer competition, regulations restrict the number of people actually present at the race track. To increase team working over a race weekend, Williams have additional engineers based back at the team’s headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire.

This means the network connecting the trackside team and those back in Grove is more important than ever before, and it’s handling more data than ever before. Graeme Hackland, IT director at Williams Martini Racing, says: “A Williams Formula One car has around 200 sensors generating a huge amount of telemetry.”

In fact, during a race 60 to 80 Gigabytes of data are generated from 1,000 channels on the two racing cars. In addition the team generates around 60 Gigabytes of video. All this information has to be transferred to the Williams headquarters. Of the team based at Grove, Pat Symonds recalls: “We used to analyse it after the event.”

Incredible step forward for Williams engineers.

Before the high-speed BT wide area network was in place, bulk data transfers took several hours. “We needed to be able to make decisions on that data in real time, using exactly the same information they see on the pit wall.” says Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer.

So the data flow was enhanced with BT Connect Acceleration. This speeds-up network performance by enabling Williams to prioritise the most critical data. Now the team back at Grove is also able to actually make decisions on that data during testing and racing days.

Graeme Hackland says: “By being able to flow the data back to the factory in near real time we’re able to analyse it and get results back to the track in a few minutes. It’s an incredible step forward for our engineers.”

In practice that means the Williams complement at Grove is now able to add its collective brainpower to the team at the race track. Together, while practice, qualifying and racing is actually in progress, they can collaborate effectivity to make the car go faster.

Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing driver, puts that into stark context. “If you brake too late or you brake too early they see straightway,” he says. “So everything we’re doing they’re watching you.”

 
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