Creating a Competitive Advantage

    The Challenge

    How do you maintain a good communications link between race driver and the pit at all points around a racetrack, taking into consideration bad weather conditions and G-Force? Prior to this project there was a difficulty with black spots at particular points around the International racetracks used by Formula 1.

    As one of the best-known suppliers of telemetry systems, Plextek was approached by Pi Group, the then supplier of electronic equipment to Williams and Jaguar F1 Racing, to design and produce Formula 1’s first full circuit-wide lossless digital voice and telemetry system.

    Creating a Competitive Advantage F1 pitstop
    F1 racing car

    The Approach

    First tests of the Plextek system were undertaken at the Silverstone, Hockenheim, Nürburgring and Barcelona circuits to allow models of several different environments to be produced. From the measured data, the proposed system design was developed and tested to produce coverage estimates showing the likely performance of the system. This approach allows an early check on whether the initial objectives of the system are likely to be achieved prior to the final design of the equipment.

    The Approach

    First tests of the Plextek system were undertaken at the Silverstone, Hockenheim, Nürburgring and Barcelona circuits to allow models of several different environments to be produced. From the measured data, the proposed system design was developed and tested to produce coverage estimates showing the likely performance of the system. This approach allows an early check on whether the initial objectives of the system are likely to be achieved prior to the final design of the equipment.

    F1 racing car

    The Outcome

    The Formula 1 motor racing telemetry system developed by Plextek and Pi Group raced into first place in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola when the Williams-BMW Team notched up the first victory of their two-year partnership.

    In the gap between seasons, Pi came back to Plextek for a software upgrade program. These system improvements allowed a fully acknowledged handshake protocol. The new software also provided a data downlink channel to the car, which was previously illegal. The new Plextek software allowed the teams to receive error free transfers of data from the cars, and reliably send command information to the cars to tune performance during the race. The upgraded telemetry system was installed on four Formula 1 team cars including Williams-BMW, Jaguar and Arrows.

    F1 racetrack