Photo of newly revealed Renault R.S.18.
Mixed reality

Fueling Renault F1® Team with data

In Formula One racing, every millisecond counts. Renault F1 Team is keeping pace with innovation to push their performance on and off the track.

In Formula One, racing cars drive at over 220 miles per hour and generate more than a billion data points during each weekend race. It’s a technologically demanding sport where constant innovation is essential. With races only a week or two apart, Renault F1 Team has to design and manufacture innovations for their cars on a race-by-race basis—often turning them around in just 24 hours.

“We build two cars a year, not thousands of cars,” says Mark Everest, IS Development Manager at Renault F1 Team. “The innovation rate involved in design, simulation, testing and manufacturing is much faster than consumer car companies.”

Renault F1 Car digital rendering
Innovation at high-speed
Innovating at this speed means that engineers must have a deep understanding of the impact their design changes might have on the car. One slight modification could affect car reliability or aerodynamics, so they have to run thousands (if not millions) of simulations before the race.

Beyond the track

It takes a dedicated team to produce a winning Formula One car, from Enstone and Viry-Châtillon Technical Centres to the track. The thousand-strong team is constantly exploring how to push the limits of engineering, making cars faster and more reliable than ever. Each piece of information is imperative to understand the dynamics of the car and transform these forces into performance. With each race, they’re learning and trying new things with the most current car.

Renault F1 Drivers - Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg
Image of the Renault team running simulations on a test car

Every time Renault F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo get behind the wheel, more than 200 sensors collect over 50 billion data points that help the technical staff improve aerodynamics, performance, and handling. But one of the most vital sources of data isn't a sensor or computer. It's the human behind the wheel, whose point of view provides valuable information on how the car is performing and behaving; something that a sensor can’t communicate to the engineers.

Previously, running simulations based on these data points meant taking their machines offline from other activities. But now, using Azure Batch compute, the team can turn on virtual machines as needed and run the simulations up to 600% faster.

To bring this simulation process to life, the team uses Microsoft’s mixed reality experience for the HoloLens, allowing them to view the car from multiple abstract angles—easily lifting, rotating, and manipulating a virtual version of the car.

To streamline development, the team has turned to Microsoft Dynamics 365. It aids in the manufacturing process 24/7. And by pairing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations with Microsoft Power BI, Renault F1 Team can call up data in real-time with rich interactive visuals on customized dashboards, allowing them to make decisions and modifications at the breakneck speeds the races require.

Collaboration drives success

“The better I can describe the problems and the feeling of the car to my engineers, the better they can work to find solutions and fix the problems,” says driver Nico Hülkenberg.

If they didn’t have this input, the engineers would be developing a car without any insight into how the driver is experiencing changes. But once they have this data from the track, it’s then a process of rigorous teamwork and collaboration.

Pierre d'Imbleval, Chief Information Officer, Renault F1 Team

Pierre is responsible for the delivery of IT services to more than 1,000 employees, ensuring that—from design and manufacturing to performance-related applications—the team is supported by technology partners who can help it stay ahead in the digital transformation race. d’Imbleval is an avid motorbike racer, which is a pursuit that’s reinforced his belief that performance is a great combination of attention to details and collaborative efficiency.

Lucia Conconi, Suspension Performance Section Leader, Renault F1 Team

Lucia manages the Suspension Section for the development of new suspension systems, the definition of the chassis and suspension attributes for future cars, and the optimization of the suspension setup to improve car performance.

Mark Everest, IS Development Manager, Renault F1 Team

Mark is a member of the Information Systems Management Team. He provides all IT services to the Team in their bid to design, build, and run a championship-winning racing car. Everest also runs the centralized software engineering section focused on designing, developing, testing, and deploying customized software throughout the company. This software is used in all areas of the factory to aid design, manufacturing, simulation, analysis, and process improvement.

Sara Cabitza, Aerodynamicist, Renault F1 Team

Sara is a member of the aerodynamic development team. Her role involves working on all aspects of aerodynamic development, including concept scheming, CFD conceptual design, Wind Tunnel testing, and analysis of track results.

Rene Torcato, Lead R&D Engineer, Renault F1 Team

Rene manages the R&D testing facility meant to improve a vehicle’s performance through its suspension system. He is a liaison with other departments, organizing test events and programming. Torcato is also responsible for data extraction, analysis, and conversion for use by other departments.

That’s quite a nice feeling when we try all together to bring different sides of development to the track.

Lucia Conconi, Suspension Performance Section Leader, Renault F1 Team

Formula One is such a fast-paced sport, there’s no time to second-guess. The team must be able to trust the data they receive, analyze it, and visually interpret it in the most efficient way. Microsoft technology can help filter through each valuable piece of information—whether it’s human feedback or data generated by sensors—to create that competitive edge and help Renault F1 Team continue to vie as a credible championship contender.

HoloLens brings Renault R.S.19 to life
Microsoft has created a virtual version of the R.S.18 car to help viewers understand how the lines of the car have evolved over time to improve performance, address rule changes, and  design the fastest possible car.
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