Headline Dec 05, 2015/ ''' POWERED BY WORLD OF DATA "' : FAST CARS



TELECOM PROVIDERS work with teams  -on track and off, in trying to get that very critical edge.

And this is how and why it is done:

Today's  Formula One  cars may seem to be basically what they've always been: a chassis with four wheels, controlled by a driver guiding a steering wheel as he races against a cohort of other similar machines and drivers.

But the reality of modern racing is actually more complex, with the car only the tip of  a vast data iceberg.

Efficient use of that data   -which travels between the cars,   the track-side engineers,  the team factories sometimes a continent away, and computers in data centers around the world  -can ultimately determine victory and defeat.  

As the series staged its 15th race of the season recently, the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the importance of computer data was as much in evidence through the armies of engineers and technicians set up on site in the team garages as it is in the legions of  employees working at the team bases back home.

" That is really what has been the big story in Formula One over the last 15 years," said Paddy Lowe, technical director of the Mercedes team, which is the reigning champion and current series leader.

"I have been in this sport for 28 years, and when I started there was almost no data, so you relied on the driver to tell you about the car," he added. "Most experiments were empirical, and far less people were engaged. Because when you don't have a lot of data, it is more difficult to engage more people anyway."

DATA has pumped up the number of people required to run a car effectively and it has permitted teams to expand the crew of employees involved in a race without sending them to the track.

As a cost control measure established by the series regulator, the International Automobile Federation, teams are allowed to bring only 60 employees to the race.

But with today's connectivity of sound, video and data, fiber-optic and wireless telecommunications systems facilitate the involvement of much larger work force away from the track.

"Years ago you would come to the track with a small team, because there wasn't much data to look at  -there was a pencilled comment on a run sheet maybe." Lowe said. " So now we have lots of people who can sit at screens who you see in the garage."

"There would be little point in bringing a team as large as we bring now if there wasn't any data to look at," he added. You couldn't gather 15 people around a couple of comments written in pencil on a run sheet. You need only one or two blokes to look at that."

This is where Telecom service provider offers a competitive edge.  With a series that now races on all continents except Africa and Antarctica,  sometimes in remote areas, the teams must rely upon the most robust  electronic-data communications systems available.  

Mercedes uses the services of  Tata Communications, part of an Indian conglomerate that is involved in diverse sectors, including automobiles, airplanes, electricity and beverages.

"That has been all part of transforming the sport from this kind of seat-of-the-pants, finger in the air   -somebody who makes a great call because he is some sort of legend apparently   -which is how Formula One used to be," Lowe said.

"Now it is a  very scientific, objective process with real professional analysis going on."

TATA,   which is a world leader in data and telecommunications, also  provides the infrastructure for the Formula One television broadcasts and website.

The company owns one of the world's biggest underseas fiber-optic cable networks, which reaches more than 200 countries, and its telephone communications network services  20 percent of the world's calls.

This giant network helps ensure that the Mercedes team can seamlessly operate in the same way at any one of the Formula One tracks.

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