Marco Einӧder and partner Leire Apraiz, winners of the first challenge of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize, explain why successful F1 technology innovations combine state-of-the-art engineering with artistic design.
When our son Diego was two years old, we gave him his first F1 toy car. His passion became our family’s passion and soon I was using my training as a sculptor and a computer engineer to make F1 toy cars using home-made drivers, mechanics and car designs.
What I love about F1 is that it is one of the few sports that brings together the two things I am most passionate about: art and engineering. Drivers and engineers do not drive and develop cars, but masterpieces. F1 is not just motor racing, but an arena for design, technology and engineering.
Big data, simple design
Our main objective was to display the maximum amount of information, using the simplest design possible, to allow users to make decisions based on all the relevant information they need, in the minimum amount of time. When I have watched F1 races on television I have often found the displays used to show the viewer key data extremely difficult to follow, which was a problem we wanted to solve.
When developing our proposal, we realised that a system which only displays real-time data has limited value – even when it is being used to inform real-time decisions. Therefore, we outlined a solution which brings together a core block of data that is mainly sourced from real-time processes with additional blocks that present historical data on relevant scenarios.
Having both types of information in one simple, customisable interface allows the user to interpret the real time data within its wider context. This gives F1 engineers the ability to provide strategic recommendations based on the unique data collected in the heat of the race itself analysed again data collected over a longer period of time.
In terms of the user interface, we approached this element of our proposal using the slogan “Think Different”. Given the trackside environment and pace at which decisions need to be made, we felt simplicity was key and decided to use Microsoft Word to design the graphic user interface (GUI).
Microsoft Word is not a graphic design tool but it’s reduced graphic capabilities provided us the perfect scenario to create as simple a design as possible. The final design was completely customisable, allowing the user to display the information they required for their specific purpose.
I wondered when watching races on TV whether anybody could really follow all the data produced from an F1 car printed in a chart. So, the problem we wanted to solve and the core design brief was clear from the starting point. Tyre temperatures, gears, breaks, speed and battery use all have a physical place on the car, so this logic pushed us to represent the data as it appears in real life.
Once we had this design idea we focused on simplifying the design as much as possible, without compromising on the quantity and quality we could display. So, if you think your ideas has potential, consider these words: “Don’t dream your life, live your dreams… and keep trying!”
Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.