Lotus F1 Team use technology to improve on the track

Another solid race for Lotus F1 Team in Singapore. Kimi Räikkönen fought back from twelfth on the grid to maintain his third position in the Drivers' Championship with a battling sixth place in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean finished close behind in seventh after a gruelling race with two safety car periods and a number of retirements.

So far it has been a break through year for Lotus Formula 1 Team in 2012, currently fourth in the constructors championship, well clear of Mercedes in fifth, Lotus are still in striking distance on 2nd and 3rd as the races count down to the finale in Brazil in November.

Life in the F1-Verse
Life in the F1-Verse

Photo by: Motorsport.com

Download the full size infographic here

Where has this improvement in form over last year come from, especially during the very tough and restrictive RRA, or Resource Restriction Agreement?

Going fast in Formula One requires more than building top-notch race cars and putting talented drivers behind the wheel. Although both elements are certainly pivotal to success, a measure of simplicity is also important in the fast-paced, complexity-driven world that is Formula One. And, part of that simplicity involves trimming costs through optimizing the processes by which key tasks are performed within a team.

Since fall 2010, Formula One teams have operated under a Resource Restriction Agreement known as the RRA that places a spending cap on how much money teams can pour into their respective racing operations. The idea is to cut spending while leveling the playing field as much as possible between the sport’s big, mid-sized and small teams.

Even as Formula One teams continued to wrangle about the specific details of these restrictions as late as early August, it remains that spending limits have forced teams to re-evaluate all aspects of their business while they seek to maintain a competitive edge in the ultra-competitive world of Formula One.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1

Photo by: xpb.cc

Motorsport.com got an exclusive look inside the world’s largest software company’s first foray into F1. Through a strategic partnership formed in March with Microsoft Dynamics, the Enstone, England-based Lotus F1 Team is making strides toward this goal.

Along with changing its name from Lotus Renault GP to the Lotus F1 Team, and ushering in a pair of acclaimed new race drivers in 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and 2011 GP2 Series champion Romain Grosjean, the Lotus F1 Team embarked on another new beginning in 2012.

That new beginning was its partnership with Microsoft Dynamics, a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications developed by Microsoft to make organizations more agile and globally competitive in today’s business environment. “The Lotus F1 Team is a true testament to our Dynamic Business vision and how one customer uses these tools to not only run a successful enterprise, but to win races and beat the competition.” said Fred Studer, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics.

“The Lotus F1 Team you can divide IT-wise in two worlds: what we call the factory and the performance systems,” said Patrick Louis, Lotus F1 Team chief executive officer. “The performance systems are these systems that the engineers are using on the race track or the systems we are using for a driving simulator. With Microsoft Dynamics, we’re going to re-design the performance side, and it will have one integrated system and not the separation between the factory and the performance.”

Lotus will have one integrated system and not the separation between the factory and the performance.

Patrick Louis

The environment in which the Lotus F1 Team operates is highly competitive and always on the cutting edge, with 24 drivers and 12 race teams all aiming to be No. 1 in Formula One, the world’s most sophisticated and competitive form of motorsports. With a global fan base of some 1,750,000,000, Formula One will compete 20 times this year in 19 countries, and on five continents. This year’s grid features six former World Champions, including Finland’s Raikkonen — one of the sport’s brightest stars.

To be competitive in the world of Formula One, the Lotus F1 Team employs 550 people at its Enstone headquarters. This vast number of personnel is required to build, maintain and race the Lotus F1 Team car — which can travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in 1.6 seconds.

“Microsoft Dynamics is all about enabling our entire team to shed inefficiencies, improve decision-making and streamline communications to focus all energies on the singular goal of faster lap times in order to win races,” Lotus F1 Team boss Eric Boullier said.

“Managing a time-sensitive operation like Lotus F1 Team requires that the people in the organization are equipped with the right set of tools — tools that are powerful, agile, and give people the information they need to do their jobs effectively anywhere and on any device,” Christian Pedersen, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Product Marketing said.

Lotus F1 Team employees are highly passionate and acutely aware of their contributions to the success of the business and the team, knowing how every thousandth of a second counts on the track. Even the smallest parts of a car go through constant enhancements and iterations in design, aerodynamic optimization, and structural strengthening.

Thousands of evolutionary designs are created during the racing season based on terabytes of logged data, wind tunnel tests, and computerized simulations running on cutting-edge super computers. Bringing out innovations faster and better than competitors creates a sense of urgency in the organization, where a process from conceptualization, design, procurement, manufacturing, testing, and deployment to finished car is often counted in days, and is critical to the team’s on-track success.

The first few months of the three-year partnership have reaped substantial benefits for all involved. With Microsoft personnel working directly with the Lotus F1 Team to continuously transform and optimize operations toward a world-class facility, drivers Raikkonen and Grosjean have enjoyed a terrific first half of 2012.A season after Lotus finished on the podium only twice in 19 events, Raikkonen and Grosjean had combined for eight podium finishes over the first 11 events of the 20-race 2012 season.

Both drivers have provided stiff competition to the likes of reigning constructors’ champion Red Bull, as well as perennial frontrunners McLaren and Ferrari.And, with the Lotus F1 Team drivers contending for podiums and victories on a regular basis, Microsoft Dynamics — with branding on both of the team’s “E20” race cars and the drivers’ overalls — has received maximum exposure in front of a vast, worldwide audience. So the partnership has been a win-win situation for both Microsoft and Lotus F1.

shares
comments
Circuit of The Americas declared ‘race ready’ by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting

Previous article

Circuit of The Americas declared ‘race ready’ by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting

Next article

Whiting gives Austin track green light for US GP

Whiting gives Austin track green light for US GP
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Prime

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Prime

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Prime

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

French Grand Prix driver ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Prime

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021