Mercedes-AMG Petronas Stays Ahead with TIBCO System of Insights
Five-time FIA™ World Champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport uses data and insights to gain a data-driven competitive advantage over the competition
When you're the one of the most successful Formula One™ teams in recent history, how do you ensure that you keep your edge and stay ahead, no matter what happens? Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport needed a solution where engineers and analysts could access and quickly analyze data for operational excellence and competitive advantage.
They needed to closely watch the competition and develop a strategy for continuously innovating for better car design, faster response to race conditions, and clear determination of the best car setup for each race. The goals were to become continuously aware, think systematically, leverage experience, and evolve.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport turned to the TIBCO® System of Insight to leverage data visualizations, predictive analytics, and AI to deliver on their objectives.
"We have a number of internal data sources, and our TIBCO System of Insight links them all to make sure we consume and visualize data in a strong way," says James Vowles, chief strategist for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. "With TIBCO's help, we've developed systems to visualize data and run simulations to make sure we can see the outcome and dig down into the depth of the data."
Becoming Continuously Aware
The team uses thousands of data sources that inform of any changes in context, allowing early identification of issues and opportunities that other teams have not yet found. This allows the team to be continuously aware of their racing situation at any given time.
"For competitors, we gather everything we can—engine audio, video, GPS—close to 15 sources of information from every car in the race, and we try and use it all to build a picture of how we're doing, and how they're doing," said Vowles.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport thinks systematically about the future impact of the current situation or action, rather than about the situation itself. With the TIBCO System of Insight, the team has created over two million simulations of various race scenarios—changes in weather, the presence of the safety car, tire changes, and more—to create a dataset for each analysis. The team works to maximize insight and minimize variability by get down into minute detail to reinforce their understanding and make small incremental improvements for a winning position.
"With very small amounts of data and an unpredictable outcome, the next steps are building systems and models to improve our understanding. You need a tool like TIBCO Spotfire® to get to that level to extract the key information," said Vowles.
Leveraging Experience to Evolve
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport has used analytical modeling, and statistical and machine learning algorithms, to tease patterns and relationships from the data. It requires selecting the right data sets, algorithms, and variables, and using the right visualizations—all based on the team's experience. Spotfire visualizations enable good communication about what the data is saying.
"There are a number of outcomes we're looking for. The easy one is just go out and win, but sometimes it's not that simple. Every decision, every lap, every bit of data has a probability attached to it, so you can understand whether or not you should be stopping during this lap, who you're fighting, what you should be telling the driver to do," said Vowles.
From one season to another, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport may also need to handle changes in car design imposed by the FIA, changes made by its competitors, and other variables. But as the team knows, no matter how much data is available, it won't make any difference if it's not understood and put to good use.