Renault Sport’s Formula One team is using a wide range of Microsoft technology including the Azure cloud, Dynamics 365 and Power BI to enable greater insight into data.
The team is running thousands of digital scenarios with Azure Batch in order to improve modifications, pit stop tactics and more. The scalability of the cloud enables the team to these scenarios in minutes, reducing costs where previously it would have taken hours on-premise.
“There are so many factors that are constantly changing and can affect race strategy: track temperature, tire performance, what the other drivers are doing,” said Mark Everest, the team’s information systems development manager, in an interview with Microsoft’s Vanessa Ho. “Simulation helps us quickly understand how to configure the car for a particular track.”
Renault is also using artificial intelligence (AI) to find insights from the billions of data points it generates every race. Azure Machine Learning can search the data for anomalies, allowing engineers to spend more time on innovation.
“How do we use that extra data?” said Everest. “You can’t just get more people to look at the data. You have to find smarter ways of working with that data, and AI is going to be one of those ways.”
The team is also using AI to analyse tyre behaviour. “Tyres are much more complex than lumps of rubber and understanding how they’re going to behave is a serious challenge,” said Everest. “So, AI would be good at spotting patterns.”
Renault is using other Microsoft technologies including Dynamics 365 and Power BI to aid in the design and building processes, as well as using mixed reality and the HoloLens to create 3D simulations to improve understanding and collaboration.
“When you’re not as big as the other teams, it is a really exciting challenge to try and win championships,” said Everest. “Technology to me is the only way to do that. It is about innovating and working more efficiently and out-engineering the competitors.”
The team has already gone from placing ninth in 2016 to sixth in 2017, and after this year’s seasons, ranked fourth. Pierre d’Imbleval, Renault Sport Racing chief information officer, is confident that the use of technology will help the team improve further. “We are at the top of the midfield,” d’Imbleval told Ho. “What will change the game is how we embrace technology that makes us even more efficient. It’s about being smarter in the way we work.”
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