Heading into Monaco Grand Prix - application reliability is key

  • Posted on May 22, 2014


This weekend, Formula 1 takes to the streets of Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix – the most famous and recognizable race on the F1 calendar. For drivers, this is the race everyone wants to win – it is the most high-profile circuit and one of the most technically difficult to accomplish.

According to ESPN’s F1 coverage, the circuit is one of the most demanding because there is “no margin for error as the Armco barriers that line the track are at some points just inches from the cars. Triple world champion Nelson Piquet described it as similar to ‘trying to cycle round your living room.’”

At 78 laps around a much tighter, shorter track, it’s not only difficult for drivers but also for the teams of engineers supporting at the race. With that many laps in such a short duration of time, applications will be exercised to run at their fastest speed. If the application hasn’t finished analysing the data before a driver starts the next lap, then what’s the point?

For example, there are dozens of applications that are processing statistical results per lap to help inform the driver of where to make adjustments in order to shave a few seconds off of their time. But, with a lap time of approximately 1m15s, the team has to process all the lap-based telemetry data in less time than it takes to complete the lap time. Otherwise, the team will slowly fall behind each time the next lap is completed by the car.

The applications need to be able to handle the load to keep working quickly and consistently during the race to deliver those calculations for each lap. Avanade works with Lotus F1 Team to make sure its applications are stable for each race. Specifically, we usually try to release as few changes as possible to known stable applications used at the previous event. And, any application updates that are proposed for an event go through a thorough test phase called the Virtual Garage. During this test, we stress test all applications and simulate race conditions to ensure those changes will deliver.

In Formula 1, the pace is relentless and the pressure to perform is on for both the drivers and the technology – especially for a race like the Monaco Grand Prix. Application reliability will be key. We’ll be watching to see how it all unfolds this weekend. Follow me on Twitter at @kshrimpton for real-time updates on Lotus F1 Team as they happen!

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