How Weather Affects F1 Racing Strategy – Brought to you by NetApp – Aston Martin F1 Team | CarTailz

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NetApp helps Aston Martin F1 harness the power of data on and off the track, and NetApp’s cloud technology provides insight into something no one can control: the weather.

Weather2020 uses Spot by NetApp and extracts weather data to apply insights to upcoming races using advanced weather simulation and modeling systems.

In AMF1, real-time weather updates can mean the difference between right and wrong strategy on the track.

Peter Hall, Head of Race Strategy at AMF1, reveals: “There are many ways weather affects how a race car performs on track.

“While extreme weather can affect whether or not a race takes place on schedule, all weather conditions impact strategic decisions and car set-up.

“It’s something we always keep an eye on; leading up to a Grand Prix, over the course of a race weekend and then over the course of a session, minute by minute.”

Japanese GP

Wet or dry?

A wet track makes it harder for tires to find grip and cooler air temperatures can affect tire pressure. Less grip only increases the challenge a rider faces, and while the risk of making mistakes is increased, the potential rewards for mastering such conditions can be high.

“The wet weather presents us with the greatest challenge, but these conditions also often offer the most exciting races,” says Peter.

“For a driver navigating a wet track, not only is it more difficult to walk the fine line between slip and grip, but the penalties for deviating from the ideal line are higher.”

Grip levels change on a dry track, but not nearly as much as in wet conditions.

Head of Race Strategy, AMF1

Singapore GP

Drivers and engineers must consider a number of factors when preparing for a wet race. The amount of rain, wet areas on the track, tire selection, setup and strategy all need to be calculated and studied – and then changed and adjusted when the rain eases or stops.

“The grip level changes on a dry track, but not nearly as much as in wet conditions,” says Peter. “That means looking to the cloud for the best on-demand data to determine the best course of action when rain clouds beckon.”

Over the course of a race weekend, even wet practice sessions followed by a dry qualifying session or race can create puzzles.

“The training sessions in this sport are used to collect data,” adds Peter. “When you have wet workouts, you don’t have the same amount of up-to-date data as you normally would.

“You still have more data to process because you’re modeling with historical data and what information you’ve been able to gather in other sessions.”

The wrong tire for the conditions can cost up to ten seconds – in extreme cases even more.

Head of Race Strategy, AMF1

French GP

Weary

The right tire is crucial if you want to win a Grand Prix, but knowing when it’s the right time to switch from slicks to intermediate or wet tires can be a difficult decision.

Data from past race weekends, training sessions and live monitoring can help engineers make strategic decisions.

“A wet race – more specifically a race with mixed conditions – is the most difficult thing on the pit wall,” says Peter. “You need instant access to data.

“The wrong tire for the conditions can cost up to 10 seconds – or even more in extreme cases.

“The worst scenario is being on the wrong tire and ending up in the barriers or getting stuck in the gravel and retiring from the race. It is crucial that you make the right decision, or at least avoid making the wrong one.”

Hot or cold?

There are two temperatures a race engineer needs to keep an eye on: ambient and track. The ambient temperature – the temperature of the air – affects the driver, the car and the tyres. Track temperature has a direct impact on tire performance.

Tires need to be kept at their optimum operating temperature to perform at their best. If it’s too cold the tire won’t work properly, but if it’s too hot they can blister, burst, or delaminate.

In a dry race, when choosing the right tire strategy is marginal, a small change in temperature can have a big impact. This is another parameter that we monitor very closely.

Head of Race Strategy, AMF1

NetApp

On sunny days, engineers need to be aware of how the track is heating up and how cloudiness could affect that. It’s also important that they pay close attention to how air temperature affects the car itself, particularly the engines, brakes and batteries, all of which require cooling.

The drivers themselves are also at risk of overheating. A driver can lose up to three kilos of body fluid during a race and risk dehydration.

“Even small changes in temperature during a race can affect performance,” explains Peter.

“In a dry race, when choosing the right tire strategy is marginal, a small change in temperature can have a big impact. This is another parameter that we monitor very closely.”

Blowing in the wind

Headwinds can help generate downforce, while tailwinds—especially a choppy one from behind—can make judging braking points a challenge. Meanwhile, a strong crosswind can wreak havoc on the car’s stability in a corner.

“How a Formula 1 car cuts through the wind is something that takes a tremendous amount of resources for the teams,” says Peter.

“In the wind tunnel we control wind direction, but on the track we look at real world information that helps us make decisions about wing height and layout. Strong and unexpected winds can make it very difficult for a car to drive, so anything we can do to counteract that is beneficial.”

In all of these scenarios, we rely on the flow of data to make decisions, avoid problems, and thrive.

Head of Race Strategy, AMF1

Singapore GP

“In 2022, controlling the extent of porpoises is critical to keeping the car legal and drivable. Predicting wind changes, which can affect the magnitude of porpoises and the driver experience, can allow the team to get closer to the optimal setup for race day. “

Where NetApp comes in

At AMF1, we use NetApp solutions to gain speed on and off the track – unleashing performance through data and constant new insights from the cloud.

“In every scenario, we rely on the flow of data to make decisions, avoid problems, and achieve successful outcomes,” says Peter.

“We need to be able to access that data anywhere, and NetApp gives us the platform to do that.”

NetApp helps AMF1 get the most out of the cloud and accelerate the team’s rise to the top.

Originally) released on NetApp.com.

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