In the 1950s, other than a rudimentary fuel gauge and RPM counter, the only smart sensor in a Formula One racing car was the driver. Today, F1 cars gather a wide range of metrics through hundreds of sensors, fueling insights that help teams understand performance and determine race strategies.
Because of limited practice time due to FIA regulations, teams must use virtual racing—or simulations—to predict the best combination of strategies to stay top-of-grid. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team simulates millions of racing scenarios and car configurations to determine the best racing strategies on any given race day.
According to Vehicle Thermal Performance Lead Nic Rohart, “In preparation for race weekends, we will run thousands of simulations covering the parameters we can actually influence on track to optimize car performance according to the track layout, weather conditions, and also driver preferences and styles.”
What are F1 Simulations?
Some of the most valuable simulation systems in the sport include the wind tunnel, driver-in-the-loop simulator, and offline simulator. Combined, these systems fuel insights that are game-changers.
Driver-in-the-loop simulations feature a human driver in the cockpit of a video game environment, where testing results are based on the driver’s performance. Offline computer-driven simulations can be run thousands of times, but they lack human driver engagement. With these simulations, the Team can test performance scenarios and possible racing strategies.
Powered by TIBCO Spotfire analytics software, Mercedes simulation experts run millions of simulations across a race season—then use the resulting volumes of data to develop insights that can help the team win come race day. The end goal is to build such a well-vetted strategy that the race is won even before it starts.
Choose the Right Tool for Your Simulations
Simulation isn’t just critical for motorsport racing; nearly every industry can benefit from analyzing data to predict change and run optimally.
“Here at Mercedes there’s an immense focus on simulation, data analysis, and data gathering,” says Performance and Simulation Engineer Julian Herzog. “We get a lot of support from the highest levels of management because to remain in our position, we must fundamentally understand what makes a car fast. To do that, we need to have the simulation capability to look into the future and use these tools to develop the best car.”Simulation isn’t just critical for motorsport racing; nearly every industry can benefit from analyzing data to predict change and run optimally. Click To Tweet
To learn more about the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s simulations program powered by TIBCO, check out this recent case study.