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The Technology Behind Formula 1 Racing

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the all-faked-like-the-moon-landings dept.

Transportation 175

swandives writes "The Australian Grand Prix F1 event is being held in Melbourne this weekend (27-28 March) and Computerworld Australia has interviewed the technology teams for BMW Sauber, McLaren Racing, Red Bull Racing, and Renault about how they run their IT systems and how technology has changed the sport. Each car has about 100 sensors which capture data and send anywhere up to 20GB back to the pits during a race. The tech guys arrive a week before a race to set everything up — the kit for BMW Sauber weighs close to 3200 kilograms — and when it's all over, they pack it all up and move on to the next event. Good pics too."

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Lewis Hamilton... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649236)

...is a nigger!

Re:Lewis Hamilton... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650142)

woah, michael richards reads /. !

captainoftheussinevitable.ytmnd.com

Great! Now we can call it something else! (4, Funny)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649252)

I've always wanted to stop calling it a "sport". It's called a "car geek competition" now. -- I wonder how long will actual cars still be involved, and not just some 3D displays and simulations, due to danger, insurance or some other costs or whatever.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649304)

For it to be the ultimate car geek competition to me, they'd have to lift the technical regulations. Anything goes on the technical level. Who cares for the drivers? Let the engineers fight it out!

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649550)

That's one of the interesting things about technology-driven sports - there are no un-regulated competitions because they aren't competitive and aren't fun or interesting to watch. It becomes little more than a question of who has the deepest pockets.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649620)

That's why the F1 has been crippled and regulated to the point where basically all the teams have been reduced to whatever the poorest team can muster. Only so-and-so many engines, so many gearboxes, these tyres HAVE to be used, etc...

Coupled with the inability to overtake sensibly anywhere on the curve-heavy courses most races are won and lost in the pits. Who chooses the right tyres, who gauges the weather best, who chooses the right moment to refill and change tyres... the driver is basically reduced to getting the best position during qualification and make sure the car somehow survives the race with its engine hopefully intact enough that it lasts another race, because it can only be changed after the next race because that costs us 10 places in the grid and we don't have a chance anyway in the next but one race...

C'mon, what's that got to do with race car driving?

Formula 1 is tedious. Dull dull dull dull dull (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650144)

It is only beaten in levels of tedium by they Indy 500. I once watched that... WTF? What a bunch of pansies.

You want racing?

Moto GP
World Superbikes
British Superbikes
Isle of Man TT
 

Re:Formula 1 is tedious. Dull dull dull dull dull (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650438)

There is still plent of good open wheel racing out there. Formula 1 has become dull, but the racers who get into it generally have to come from somewhere. Things like GP2/GP2 Asia, IFM, A1GP, Formula Renault, Formula BMW, Formula 2000, Formula 2, and there are more all have rulesets that allow for awesome racing. IFM in particular is one of my recent favorites.

On top of all that F1 no longer does refills with fuel and the Melbourne race was fun. But basically that was due to the rain and not the ruleset.

Re:Formula 1 is tedious. Dull dull dull dull dull (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31651250)

Don’t forget rally racing!

Yes, they’re not all on the road at the same time. (Only virtually.) But that’s a good thing with those roads.
And you get the only point of watching that stuff: Cool drifts, flights, indoor action, and crashes with parts flying off. :)

Man, I have to reinstall Richard Burns Rally! Never sweated so much (like a pig) from the tension/stress as when getting trough a whole race alive. (Yes, it’s that hard. That’s why it’s so much fun when you actually get it right.) [btw: don’t even try without a proper steering wheel!]

and the alternative would be what ? (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650434)

NASCAR ? F1 is not the eng all of racing it is one aspect. If you want more driver friendly racing then go WRC, extreme machines 24 hour Lemans. Nature vs Car then select the Dakar Rally, and if you wanna drink beer well nascar ofcourse

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650482)

By the way the Australian grand prix was a very good race. Lots of ballsy overtaking and constantly something to watch. Contrast that to Bahrain two weeks ago, two hours of utter tedium with maybe half a dozen overtakes once you take out car failure.

What changed? The weather. It blew all the calculations out the window so people were reacting on the fly. Button won thanks in large part to personally making the call to risk pitting early to swap to slicks on a damp circuit, sending him off the track on the first corner but more than compensated for later. Bahrain was sunny and everything went to plan.

Sure Vettel retiring with car failure was a bummer but reliability is the motoring equivalent to injury, fitness and fatigue. Limited number of engines etc could be considered broadly similar to the restricted transfer season windows in some sports.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

Regnad2k7 (1045284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31651094)

No more refueling in f1 this year.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649674)

I see your point - but hell, we have enough sports that are determined by what athlete has the best genetic makeup. Why not creating one which is determined by who can throw the most money at the best engineers? Sure, it probably wouldn't have mass appeal, but a geek can dream, can't he? For me, F1 isn't interesting to watch in its current state. If I want to see driving skills, I watch a rally event. Give me some unadulterated car tech geekery! Battle of the Engineers!

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649712)

Why not creating one which is determined by who can throw the most money at the best engineers?

Its called Robot Wars.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649792)

Why not creating one which is determined by who can throw the most money at the best engineers?

Well, that's what we call "war." (All truly unregulated competition devolves into war).

But even then, the F35 is supplanting the (superior) F22 because the world's richest nation can't afford it, so...

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650194)

Give me some unadulterated car tech geekery! Battle of the Engineers!

Junkyard Wars FTW!

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650336)

Yeah - but imagine junkyard wars with formula 1 funding....

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650160)

There's one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhkXr7M4JbQ&feature=channel [youtube.com]

Ok, it does have shitload of rules associated with it, but on the technical side they have almost free reign.

Interestingly it was something of a failure and the competition is going back to a tightly regulated class system for the next one.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (3, Funny)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649428)

The technology is so intense in F1......

that they haven't even got around to producing HD TV feeds yet.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649616)

Say what you will about NASCAR and the NFL, because they're admittedly not true global sports - but the quality of the broadcasts is fantastic (picture quality, camera angles, closeups, slow-mo, high-tech infographic video overlays). I know there are purists who would rather see the broadcast be more like what you experience sitting in the stadium, but it's impressive technically if nothing else.

F1 doesn't even air on US network TV, it's cable/satellite only. And even then the commentators are constantly making inane comparisons to NASCAR.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649898)

so does the BBC coverage of F1

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650844)

In every way... Formula One is a remarkable sport. It is a technologically astonishing, utterly cut-throat global circus of motorsport. It's fed by the best drivers in the world making their way up through brutally competitive open wheel formulas... it is genuinely the toughest motorsport in the world to win at. BTW, they recently axed a lot of technology to put the driver back in control more (traction control etc).

*BUT* the thing about F1... they long ago forgot about the humble spectator at the circuit itself. I've been to a NASCAR race, and quite a few F1 races. The NASCAR race was an awful lot more fun to attend... they treated the crowd better, a few dollars got you an infield pass and you get right next to drivers and teams... it was a mass of humanity gathered to watch an exciting spectacle. Fantastic stuff.

The F1 races - they've all felt like being treated with contempt. Creeping corporate hospitality, and moving further and further away from the masses ranks of fans. There is almost no chance you will get anywhere near a car - and you might see a driver occasionally through binoculars. And it costs a fortune even to sit on a patch of grass where you can't really see anything.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31651508)

1. Bittorrent 2. BBC Broadcasts of F1 3. ... 4. F1 Satisfaction

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (-1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649488)

I've always wanted to stop calling it a "sport"

I've never why some fans insist on auto racing's inclusion as a "sport". Why do they care if it's recognized as a sport, anyway? I know there's great skill involved, but there are lots of activities that require skill that aren't sports. Same thing with hunting. Why do hunters care about being recognized as "sportsmen"?

Are the guys who put out poisoned baits for rats in city alleys also sportsmen? They also have to use skill and technology to kill animals. Or is it because hunters have "fun" doing it?

I'm not trying to put down people who hunt or fish, and I understand that there's a rich "history" of ritual killing of animals in human societies, and that in some families it's creates a long-standing connection between generations. I'm just curious about why they care about the "sport" label.

I've always figured that if it doesn't require you to be in some semblance of decent physical shape, it's not really a sport. And judging from the people I've seen going into the Bass Pro Shop, physical fitness doesn't seem to be a requirement.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649548)

Formula 1 racing requires physical fitness. I'm not sure whether that's particularly important for it being a sport, but anyway.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (3, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649634)

Bass fishing isn't hunting. Show me a mountain goat guide and I'll show you a guy who is physically fit.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650046)

You'll also be showing a guy who's downright nuts. What kind of a guy guides mountain goats?!

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650416)

I've always figured that if it doesn't require you to be in some semblance of decent physical shape, it's not really a sport.

I'm not sure I can think of a less physically demanding sport than formula 1.

Next time you want to sit in a tiny box at 40-50C, and continuously concentrate for 2 hours on something that requires reactions as fast as a human can manage, while undergoing upwards of 7 lateral Gs. *Then* you can tell us that formula 1 isn't physically demanding.

The average driver loses 2 stone (12 kilograms for those on the continent) during a single race, because the sport is so physical.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650692)

Stones? Kilograms? WTF wrong contintent.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650718)

I didn't suggest that Formula 1 racers aren't physically fit. I also didn't suggest that Formula 1 isn't a sport.

I just said I didn't understand why they are so insistent on being called a sport.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31651402)

They are? Last I checked they were no more insistent on this than footballers, rugby players and swimmers were. They are doing a sport, so people tend to call them sportsmen, that's about it. This isn't chess we're talking about.

And for sure you did suggest that F1 drivers weren't physically fit and weren't doing any sporting activity. Or was 80% of your comment just an off topic ramble about something totally unrelated?

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (2, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649522)

Why should technology not be in the sport of motor racing? It's technology that will push our passenger vehicles from 30-ish mpg to much more than that. Sure other vehicles can do more now, but lets take that ever popular SUV of USA. How do we get it making 75 mpg? Technology. The things that motor sports racing have done in the past have trickled down to passenger vehicles. If you want a damned flying car, it's going to need some technology! I say up with car geek competitions! Up in the air damnit!

there are laws, too (3, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649686)

There is more to driving mass adoption, social behavior, and technology. Law, for example. Tax laws [cookco.us] have encouraged US adoption of massive trucks as cars. Change the laws, and everyone changes their behavior.

Re:there are laws, too (0)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649768)

Yes, changing the law is one solution. 55 mph speed limits worked well. IMO it's much more realistic to force efficiency on users by using the law to make manufacturers make it easier to be efficient. Technology in the vehicles will do that, and is doing that already. The better our technology, the better our efficiency. I would like to see electric vehicle racing as a way to drive that technology further and faster.

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649564)

Perhaps you should look up the definition of sport ... I'll help, heres one that matters:

1. (General Sporting Terms) an individual or group activity pursued for exercise or pleasure, often involving the testing of physical capabilities and taking the form of a competitive game such as football, tennis, etc.

If you think there is no physical side to race car driving then I encourage you to ride as a passenger for one F1 race (not that you could) ... I'd bet 2 months pay you couldn't stay conscious just being in the car for a race, let alone staying alert and driving. $50 says you couldn't sit in the car and deal with the heat alone for the length of time they do. $10 says you couldn't stand on the asphalt with the fire suit on for the 2 to 5 hour duration of a typical summer F1 in the US or Brazil or the like.

You post makes it clear that you have no clue whats involved in racing and think when you watch the Indy 500 on TV that its really as easy as it looks on camera.

Yes, high end racing such as NASCAR, F1 and IndyCar (amount other less popular ones) have a great dependency on technology. So does football even if you don't realize it cause its not as obvious. When you consider that several types of racing limit the technology to something from one vendor then the tech matters a whole shitload less. IndyCar for instance uses one engine manufacture and one chassis manufacture and one brand of tire (that may have changed this year, they haven't really figured out their plan yet). So it doesn't matter that they have outrageous technology cause everyone else has the EXACT same tech, once again putting the human perspective back into it. Indy does try a little harder than F1 to make the field more consistent where as F1 is more open and as such has more expensive cars, but you'll find far more varying technology in your local walmart parking lot than you will at any modern high end racing event short of maybe some LeMans events with multiple classes of cars in one race.

Where there are large sums of money involved there are going to be people trying to maximize their portion of those large sums of money however they can and technology is a good reliable starting point for that. Of course its far easier on slashdot to read some article and start proclaiming things like your an expert about something you really don't understand at all. Congrats, you got that part down perfect!

Re:Great! Now we can call it something else! (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650090)

"There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games." — Ernest Hemingway. I would take issue with your equating men who risk their lives at 200 miles per hour with geeks. Michael Schumacher isn't a geek. Someone who sits in their mom's basement playing some stupid racing game while not realizing what a loser that makes him is a geek. IMHO there's a lot of good things about modern technology. Games aren't one of them.

Was held This weekend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649254)

When this was posted, the race had been over for more than 10 hours. They are all off to Kuala Lumpur for next weekends race.

Jensen Button (Uk, Maclaren) won a much more exciting race than the seasons opener two weeks ago in Bahrain.

Warning: Parent is Spoiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649660)

parent needs spoiler tag

Re:Was held This weekend (3, Interesting)

galvitron (1540437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649888)

Best F1 race I've seen in a while. Very exciting and TONS of passing. I guess rain is the answer to F1's boredom problem?

Re:Was held This weekend (3, Insightful)

onepoint (301486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649990)

yes let's have more rain, just the opening was amazing ( 3 wide into the turn ) ....

rain adds a huge variable to the entire set up, as does the tyre type. I woke up just to watch the races ( then back to bed )

Re:Was held This weekend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650474)

I was able to sneek a peek at the openning lap and the closing lap (I was working this weekend, and the time zone difference is not favourable (I work nights, central time.

Re:Was held This weekend (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650464)

I guess rain is the answer to F1's boredom problem?

I'm not sure it was rain, so much as making sure Lewis Hamilton is put behind a bunch of people.

first (non ac) post...ever (0, Redundant)

DeanOh (61485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649258)

woo hoo. zoom zoom.

Re:first (non ac) post...ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649650)

It sucked.

All we need (5, Funny)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649278)

All we need is a good computer analogy to explain this story!

Re:All we need (2, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649314)

All we need is a good computer analogy to explain this story!

It's like overclocking with liquid nitrogen instead of watercooling. Speed costs money; how fast do you want to go?

Re:All we need (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649358)

Speed costs money; how fast do you want to go?

How many Library of Congresses can I get to the Furlong for three-fitty?

Re:All we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650030)

Speed costs money; how fast can you AFFORD to go?

Fixed that for ya.

Re:All we need (2, Funny)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649534)

It's as if we discovered that instead of algorithms, what really did the work inside the computer where little chinese men going up and down.

All that tech and... (1)

sxedog (824351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649306)

They still make critical mistakes like the one that cost Lewis Hamilton second place and maybe the race in Melbourne. Sad really, that they rely so heavily on Tech that the "pit boss" doesn't matter any more, its what the computer tells them to do.

You are right, soon it will be remote control racing with out humans.

Re:All that tech and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649508)

It would be a neat trick to get tyre-wear sensors into the tyre construction; "Tyre to base - I'm going to be bald in 16 laps unless the prat in the cockpit stops sliding me round corners 3, 8 and 16"

Re:All that tech and... (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649662)

There is no remote control, actually. The teams are only allowed two-way voice radio and one-way telemetry.

Re:All that tech and... (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649944)

the 'pit boss' still has the final call, he just has more data to work with. besides, as today's race proves, driver courage to put on slicks proved to be decisive...

We're talking about computers here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649322)

Is it 3200 kilograms or 3.125 kibigrams?

CFD (2, Informative)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649356)

Lots of the teams use CFD to help design their cars but basically CFD doesn't work anywhere near as well as old fashioned wind tunnel testing and so all the top teams spend all year (24/7!) doing tunnel testing!

Re:CFD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649526)

Well, they actually don't spend all their time in the wind tunnel, as the number of wind tunnel days are limited by the regulation.

3200 kilograms? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649412)

That is 3.2 tonnes, which is twice the weight of a regular SUV. I doubt the kit is 3200 kilograms. Maybe 3.2.

Zoom (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649414)

is how i drive.

US Participation (1, Interesting)

Col. Bloodnok (825749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649430)

Why don't yanks take part in F1?

I thought you loved racing cars about.

Re:US Participation (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649514)

Racing. Not driving fast in a line where position basically never changes unless someone screws up drastically. That's just a high speed parade. For all of NASCAR's faults (and they are legion), it's not THAT boring.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649632)

Not driving fast in a line where position basically never changes unless someone screws up drastically. That's just a high speed parade.

For someone who doesn't follow either, would this criticism apply to NASCAR or Formula 1?

(Ugh, the one thing about NASCAR that irritates me is how the cars are designed to do left turns only. Yeah, that's very "stock". Let's design airplanes that are only good at falling...).

Re:US Participation (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649714)

the one thing about NASCAR that irritates me is how the cars are designed to do left turns only. Yeah, that's very "stock". Let's design airplanes that are only good at falling...

The "stock" in "stock car" (the "s" in NASCAR) is a vestige of a bygone era. Today's cars have nothing to do with production vehicles. To see one up close, they don't even look (superficially) very well made, the fit and finish is nothing like a Lexus, more like an overgrown go-cart, but of course they put the money where it counts.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649844)

Same guy replying here.

So why do they make the cars turn left only? Why do they have a track that is pretty much a convex oval? They might as well plant a steel tower in the middle of the oval and tie a cable to each car.

I can understand limiting the engines to carburetor-only, or not bothering with things other than the drivetrain/frame. But why would they set up these weird conditions that make it such an artificial competition?

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649938)

I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know that they race on some "street" tracks a few times a year, which aren't simple left-turn-only ovals. I'd have to guess the left-only thing is a byproduct of wanting the cars to go as fast as they can and the economics of building tracks.

Re:US Participation (2, Informative)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650136)

Why do they have a track that is pretty much a convex oval?
 
Ovals are much better for spectators attending the race. Road courses only work when televised.

But why would they set up these weird conditions that make it such an artificial competition?
 
NASCAR started manufacturing finishes to create drama and draw ratings.

Re:US Participation (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649680)

Not driving fast in a line

That's a bit rich, coming from the land of drag racing.

But yes, F1 is pretty dull. Which is quite an impressive achievement, considering the speeds and extremes of technology involved.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650418)

You have to see it as a strategic competition between teams rather than a race between individual drivers. The drivers are important of course, but most of the drama (or what you might call it) comes from strategy.

Like, one of the most interesting moments of yesterdays race was when Button pulled in for slicks very early. It had a huge impact on the rest of the race.

Think chess more than drag racing.

Re:US Participation (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650528)

Sounds more like baseball. Great strategy. Boring ass game to bring your kids to.

Yes it is. It *is* that boring. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650366)

Far better is Touring Car Racing (look up some races on youtube). NASCAR... ovals. Oh My God it's dull.

 

Re:Yes it is. It *is* that boring. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650762)

NASCAR... ovals. Oh My God it's dull.

It's actually fun to watch the few NASCAR races which aren't ovals. The drivers are obviously incompetent at finding a line and such. They are like putting amateurs in F1 cars and sending them around the track. I've never seen "professional" racing with so many drivers that lock up at the end of a straightaway. You'd think that a professional race car driver would know how to brake...

Re:Yes it is. It *is* that boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31651482)

Superbike and Moto GP is much more interesting than watching people drive in circles (counterclockwise only) for several hours. I've heard people refer to Nascar as "rednecks doing left turns for prize money".

WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31651216)

WTF? NASCAR is more interesting than F1? NASCAR has drivers changing position and not F1?

I thought NASCAR is the one where bunch of rednecks go in circles for long time and than the race ends when the crowd has run out of hamburgers and coke and bud.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649538)

They only like watching huge cars running around giant scalectrix ovals so its easy to see the whole race from any one seat.

Plus, its got to be easy to handicap and bet on before the Yanks get interested.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649552)

They do. With that, and having Money&Space, they built plenty of tracks and race leagues on home soil. Result is F1 has to be imported into a physcial and social infrastructure that's already well-packed with aggressively competing motorsports. The very expensive F1 races just can't get a foothold there now. Hence plenty of yanks who enjoy F1 just follow it in the media and see the races on vacation.

F1 is a very EU sort of thing; no single European nation could be sufficient base, so they joined together to present a market roughly the size of the US, which was sufficient. Hence we're always going to have this parallel of similar-but-not-quite-the-same sports, like the two that are called 'football'.

There are other factors one could jaw about, but that's the foundation.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31651460)

They do. With that, and having Money&Space, they built plenty of tracks and race leagues on home soil.

Historically, European racing was done on existing roads by royalty and other upper class folk, even called "sport of kings". USA racing started at local horse race tracks (dirt ovals) with the car builders racing each other (ie, Henry Ford was a low-budget racer at the start of his career). This has to be a big part of the difference between Euro road racing and American oval racing.

Another difference is that road racing cars are compromised to work reasonably for a variety of different corners. Oval cars are very highly optimized for the two corners (which are often similar but never identical). Different objective, very challenging to do either one.

Re:US Participation (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649574)

US cars don't do corners, remember?

Re:US Participation (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649772)

Only left turns.

Re:US Participation (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649584)

Why don't yanks take part in F1?

Because there's too much advertising money from NASCAR (Non-Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks) to care about anything else.

Re:US Participation (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649890)

hard work and a ton of money is required plus acess to a big wind tunnel and a grunty connection to the national grid.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31651534)

hard work and a ton of money is required plus acess to a big wind tunnel and a grunty connection to the national grid.

The biggest rolling road wind tunnel http://www.windshearinc.com/ [windshearinc.com] is in Charlotte, NC, USA built primarily for NASCAR cars...but F1 teams fly cars over on a regular basis.

Re:US Participation (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649598)

http://www.usgpe.com/ [usgpe.com]

They almost managed to build a car in time.

Re:US Participation (1)

Ekuryua (940558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650332)

Amusingly I was IT there... and we did not really make a car:)
Really is too bad since we had a pretty good team, but just had some issues with project management.

Re:US Participation (1)

Huntr (951770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649678)

We like racing where the drivers and crew matter more than the computers.

Re:US Participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31649732)

Because most of the races take place in the middle of the American night. It's difficult to build up sufficient grass-roots enthusiasm for the sport. If you can afford an F1 team, you can afford a football team* and, for an American, the latter would bring far greater kudos.

*I'm guessing. If I'm wrong, substitute "football team" for something else that fits and still makes my point valid, thanks.

Re:US Participation (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649826)

Because our favorite racing (stock car) descended from moonshine running. And if a car doesn't look like its got a few plastic jugs of homemade hootch in the trunk, it just doesn't interest us.

Re:US Participation (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649942)

They would be glass or ceramic plastic wasn't big back then.

Good pics? (2, Insightful)

hh4m (1549861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31649510)

Good pics? Where? I didn't see a single pic of a server setup or wireless equipment :(

The best in the world (5, Informative)

galvitron (1540437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650006)

The tech in F1 is outstanding. They are above and beyond all other forms of motor racing and car technology in general. The Le Mans Prototypes are the only thing approaching F1 levels.

There was a point a few years ago (before the new regulations went into effect) where they were worried that the intake speed of the air into the engine was approaching supersonic. Nobody really knew what that would do to the engines (read: intake manifold).

Last year, on Speed channel, Steve Matchett was interviewing a Red Bull engineer, and the engineer basically said that the real life "Q" from British Intelligence had approached them with questions about their tech. That really says something about the level that F1 plays at.

Here is an interesting fact: Despite all the limiting regulations that have been put in place, including reduced aero packages, no refueling, no traction control, etc., this weekend at Melbourne a new lap record was set by Vettel. The old lap record was set in 2004 with a V10 engine revving to probably 21,000 rpms. Current engine is a 2.4L V8 probably revving to 18,000 rpms. So, despite all the restrictions, the teams are still able to move the technology forward so drastically that they are basically nullifying the FIA's (sport governing body) efforts to slow the cars down.

As an American working with technology, I would hope that more of my peers appreciated the extreme cutting edge that F1 dances on.

Re:The best in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650454)

Very rightful comment. I hate seeing the flame war on topic of F1NASCAR'etc..', that start on any mention of some car racing. Comparing those is like comparing apples, oranges, strawberries....They're all fruits, share similarities, but amazingly beneficial for consumers, mother nature created them so different. Same for the original topic. It's a matter of spectator's preference and it's good to have variety of choice. Technologically, F1 is way ahead any other form of car racing, which I think was exactly the point of this article and thread. It's indeed due to insane amounts of money behind R&D, but that shouldn't diminish it's value. Having a remote control instead of an actual human driver as somebody suggested is a bit of an overboard comment. There's still no such sophisticated form of remote control that would allow such stunt. With the same analogy in mind, we should be seeing planes take-off and landing, not only being autopiloted at high altitudes at pretty stable conditions. So far, only military drones have similar control and I believe, even not knowing technical details, limitations exist. That's why actual humas still pilot military planes. Human being has smaller margin of error than any automatic control in such situations. The F1 driver's physical and mental fitness is definitely put to the toughest endurance tests. In some manner, at least based on generated forces during the race, they are almost in the level of fighter pilots. That's hardly comparable to any other form of track racing. Exceptions are endurance races and Paris-Dakkar style off-road madness. That still doesn't mean that the same driver would have amazing race results in some other form of motorized 4-wheel vehicle. A good example is ex-F1 driver, Kimi Raikkonen who recently started driving in WRC (World Rally Championship).

Bottom line, any human being that gets into a vehicle and participates in any form of racing event, no matter of category, deserves respect for skills and guts. Again, technologically, F1 is way above any other motor racing and the vehicles are above any car class in general.

Re:The best in the world (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31651162)

we should be seeing planes take-off and landing
My understanding is that many airliners now have autoland systems because they can land in conditions where a human can't.

Afaict we still have pilots on our planes for a few reasons
1: noone wants to be the person being investigated over the first crash of an automated plane.
2: there are things human pilots can do that the computers can't. E.G. landing visually on a runway with no infrastructure (or in a pinch landing anywhere that looks flat enough).
3: (related to 2) computers are good at following plans and rules but not so good at making difficult descisions. What should a computer do if the plane is in a state where no suitable airports are reachable.
4: ATC still uses voice as it's primary means of communication (and voice recognition and natural language interpretation on computers still isn't good enough to rely on).

What do they do with the data? (4, Insightful)

Chris Colohan (29716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650016)

I was amazed to read this entire article and not learn:

a) what do they do with the data they collect? I'd have loved to learn what sensor data is valuable for, and how it changes the dynamics of the race. (Who cares how many bits they ship if you have no idea if the bits are _useful_ bits?)

b) how much of an impact does this have on the race? Does this make a 1% difference in track times, 80%, something in the middle?

Anyone have a link to an article which explains _why_ they collect all this data?

Re:What do they do with the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650290)

I seriously doubt they waste any sensors on collecting data they don't have a use for.

One example of how they use the data: During a practice session, the team can print out a graph for the slower of their two drivers(well, both drivers would have access to this kind of data, only it's more likely to be the slower driver who wants it so he can see where his teammate is faster). The horizontal axis would be laptime/lap-position, the vertical axis would be the speed at a given moment/position on the track. A driver can then see that their teammate is braking x metres earlier than they are, or what have you. I imagine they can embellish such graphs with stuff like brake/throttle application, and all sorts of other stuff.

A better answer probably is: they use the data to make their cars go faster. And they'll use any data they can get their hands on which helps them towards that goal.

Re:What do they do with the data? (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650444)

I have followed Formula One for many years, and enjoy the technical side just as much as the racing.

The huge amount of data has many uses. These days, many of the teams have test rigs back at the factory, so they can re-create the x,y,z motion of a race on a car, and investigate part failures or how to fix them, or even investigate if something is over-engineered so they can shave weight and thus shave lap times.

Additionally, some teams have developed their own simulators that the drivers sit in, and they can test out various configurations of the car, with weather patterns etc. and "drive" round a circuit. This is more beneficial now as the amount of real track testing has been severely restricted though the off-season and in-season. Some places like Monaco are street circuits, so the only practice and data you will get is during an actual race.

And finally, with more teams using computational fluid analysis of their cars aerodynamic packages, the data that the teams thought they would get can be matched with what they actually got, and refine their engineering calculations, and so save money on expensive x% sized model or full size mock-ups... autoclaves for carbon fiber are not cheap to run, and scrapping a part that you thought would work but didn't is equally not cheap, let alone the man hours wasted in manufacture.

If it can be seen to give tenths of a second per lap improvement, the teams would count that as reasonable success.

Re:What do they do with the data? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650720)

Does anything come back live (feedback, not just recording - like the sitcoms that always bugged me with "recorded live" messages at the beginning)? Does anything signal a failure before it happens (i.e. suspension travel out of line with g-force, indicating a bad shock or spring, thus letting them know real time so they can choose to replace it or just drive that way with fingers crossed)? It apparently has a lot to do with design, but does it have anything to do with the actual race it's collected in?

a look a virgin's 100% CFD (2, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650052)

As Virgin racing have gone for a 100% CFD approach it would be interesting to see a write up on their set up that they use to design the car.

F1 Technology eh (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650478)

One of the main points of F1 is to advance car Technology (it's why disc brakes were invented) and whilst I still enjoy the racing the point of it was destroyed by the death of Ayrton Senna back in 1994. [wikipedia.org]

What the wiki doesn't say (but I remember) is Senna complained that the removal of active suspension from the vehicles might get someone killed. What happened was two drivers were killed Senna and Roland Ratzenberger.

So as cool as this all is it's not as advanced as it should be. Those cars racing around out on the track had a job beyond racing to make automotive technology as advanced as it can be. I wonder how many lives off the track have been lost because F1 does not do this job anymore.

Re:F1 Technology eh (1)

piquadratCH (749309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650716)

Formula1's obsession with security only really began with Ayrton Senna's tragic death. What the engineers have achieved since then is nothing else but breathtaking. Have a look at some crashes from the last decade on Youtube (e.g. Robert Kubica [youtube.com] in 2007). In todays F1 cars, you can basically drive into a concrete wall at 120 mph and come out of the wreck with little more than a dizzy head. And that's what you call "not doing their job"?

There's an actual computer war in F1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31650488)

Much can be said about the technology that goes into F1 but there's also a darker side that steps both feet firmly into the traditional wars fought with actual weapons and religions.

Intel (the chip company, that is) supports and sponsors several of the teams. Intel's recent Core chip line came in part from their Israeli engineering offices. This was noticed.

When other teams wanted IT sponsors, they went to AMD and to assorted Arabic sponsors seeking not only sponsorship but also offering a way to attack the perceived intel-Israel ties held by some other teams.

This is one of the reasons Ferrari gained AMD and assorted sponsors from the Arab countries; and of course Ferrari has very strong ties in that area anyway.

This is also one of the reasons AMD has heavy investment from Arab-based sources. If intel is aligned with Israel, of course the option is to support intel's enemy. And AMD needs the money, so... it works out. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all.

You bet I am posting this anonymously. But all of what I've said can be found on the sponsor decals of the teams and in intel and AMD's annual reports and history. It's there.

McLaren's technology for air-traffic control... (3, Informative)

bagsta (1562275) | more than 4 years ago | (#31650908)

...there is a very interesting article [wired.co.uk] in this UK Wired's issue regarding how the Heathrow air-traffic controllers are going to use the McLaren's proprietary software to simulate air-traffic like an F1 race...
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