Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Uses Data to Handle Constant Change

2018 Großer Preis von Italien, Sonntag - Steve Etherington
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is one of the most successful Formula One teams in recent history, winning consecutive FIA Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships from 2014 to 2017. So when you’re one of the most successful teams in recent history, how do you ensure that you keep your edge and stay ahead no matter what? Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport extracts insights from the vast amounts of data to build a superior understanding by becoming continuously aware, thinking systematically ahead, and leveraging prior experience.

Becoming Continuously Aware

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport utilizes thousands of data sources that inform engineers, mechanics, and strategists of any change in context, which allows them to identify issues and opportunities before other teams. With nearly 7 billion data points from 50,000 channels of data, the team by no means lacks data. Preparation begins 14 weeks prior to a race with the team analyzing the data from multiple channels — engine, audio, video, GPS — to build a picture of what they are doing in comparison to the competition. The data is used to find and solve any potential problems to improve performance. If the team can find something that affects the performance by even a few milliseconds, they look into it. Though it may not seem that substantial, it can be the difference between first and second position.

Thinking Systematically Ahead

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport thinks systematically ahead about the impact of the current situation or action. Because F1 races run on 21 different tracks throughout the season, the data from one track usually doesn’t apply to other tracks. Everything is constantly changing: tracks, tires, weather, and people. All of these factors affect decision making. The team must maximize insight and minimize variability through their testing and practice sessions. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is trying to gain small, incremental improvements to fight for a winning position. To do this, they take into account factors such as an unpredictable outcome and the amount of data consumed to build systems and models to improve their understanding.

Leveraging Experience

The team uses analytical modeling, and statistical and machine learning algorithms to find the patterns and relationships in the data. By using the right visualizations, they are able to communicate with different teams about what the data is saying. The team is looking for a number of different outcomes from the data. There is a scale of risk and reward where every decision, every lap, and every bit of data has a probability attached to it. By calculating this probability, the team has the ability to understand whether or not they should be stopping during a lap, who they are fighting, and what they should tell the driver to do.

Data empowers everyone on the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team. Everyone can be involved in data processing and interpretation for any problem they are trying to solve. No matter how much data is available, it won’t make any difference if the data is not put to good use.

Read how Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport uses data to their advantage in our technical case study.

Learn more about how TIBCO gives Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport a data-driven competitive advantage.