NetApp continues to steer AMF1 to optimised performances from track to TV

NetApp continues to steer AMF1 to optimised performances from track to TV

Earlier this year, Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team and NetApp, an intelligent data infrastructure company, renewed their ongoing partnership ahead of the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship to optimise the AMF1 Team’s application performance and cost – on and off the track. 

NetApp’s technology supports the AMF1 team in harnessing its intelligent infrastructure solutions to optimise its data, ensuring it’s stored securely, cost effectively and accessibly for analysis to drive performance on and off track. 

We spoke to Clare Lansley, CIO at Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team, about the partnership with NetApp.

What does your role look like day-to-day and what are some of your key priorities?

In F1, days are dynamic. A standard day doesn’t really exist, as my focus evolves depending on latest challenges or new priorities. I generally make a point of checking in with the team to see whether any support is required, and I put a lot of emphasis on communication. 

Situations develop quickly and it’s imperative team members are up to speed with the latest information. I keep a close eye on delivery against our technical roadmap – are we tracking against a plan for our business-as-usual tasks as well as our transformation initiatives? You can’t differentiate services and solutions without the fundamentals being in place.

What is your strategy for success when leading a team and how does this bring about results?

A team doesn’t operate without people, so a big part of my role is to ensure the team are actively supported. Do they understand the latest priorities? Do they have everything they need to tackle a task? Can I remove a constraint? Is their input being heard and acted upon? 

Motivating the team is key, as well as providing clear direction. It’s also vital that we are clear with the outcomes the business is trying to achieve to bring the results they need. We set good behaviours in the team by providing regular feedback to team members, highlighting their efforts are being recognised and appreciated by the business. This helps build a positive and successful team.

More broadly, the Aston Martin Aramco Formula One strategy for success is underpinned by data. Our partners are pivotal in how we realise incremental improvements across the entire team, from HQ to track and ensure that insights are available in real-time. As an example, NetApp, which specialises in intelligent infrastructure solutions, ensures that our data is stored securely, cost effectively and is accessible to drive performance.

How have the immersive demands of the F1 fanbase evolved in recent years and how will you manage these technological expectations?

F1 is going through a period of accelerated growth and transformation – driven by several key factors including the popularity of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ and expansion of races in the US. As the fanbase grows, the diversity of the fans increases and so do their needs and expectations of F1.

One size does not fit all. As a business that trades in the attention of its fanbase, our marketing team prioritise putting fans at the heart of our strategy encouraging fans to get closer to the sport they love, through exclusive content and tailored digital experiences. This I/AM strategy means that everything begins with the end-user in mind – identifying what they want from an F1 team and how technology can enhance their connection with the sport has always been a focus. From multi-channel engagement strategies and bespoke communication journeys, we aim to deliver the ‘Aston Martin experience’ at-scale.

How is Digital Transformation a catalyst for data centre infrastructure modernisation?

The digital world is founded on data and lots of it. Analytics, Machine Learning and now, Artificial Intelligence all require access to vast volumes of data. Businesses want to leverage that data as a strategic asset to drive innovation, efficiency and ultimately a competitive advantage. 

Given we collect vast amounts of data, NetApp play a key role for us. NetApp devices receive, store and transmit our data – including time sensitive race data – enabling real-time analysis. To better understand the scale of this collaboration, each of our cars are fitted with over 300 sensors which constantly collect metadata ranging from weather, time and torque through to driver details.

Demands such as this increase in data are driving the need to rearchitect infrastructure. Users want performant, resilient solutions that can run queries simultaneously with instantaneous scalability to ‘burst’ capacity as required. We also need to protect our IP and competitive edge by ensuring our infrastructure is secure against evolving cyberthreats. Those factors are driving data centres to be rearchitected and modernised. 

How do you ensure sustainability is top of mind when considering the power it takes to process vast amounts of data on the network?

It is true that compute and storage consume a considerable amount of power, so we are always looking at ways to reduce our consumption. This can be done by using cloud computing which allows an operation to be run and the environment can be suspended immediately afterwards so it’s not consuming power. 

We look at how and where data is being stored and use tiering to optimise storage solutions which include ‘cold’ offline storage where it’s not draining power 24/7. We also use renewable energy; the new Aston Martin Aramco Technology Campus building has 1,936 solar panels on the roof which makes a considerable, sustainable contribution to our power consumption. It is also important to choose partners that help prioritise sustainability. Our work with NetApp allows us to meet sustainability goals, giving us greater control over our temperature and power monitoring so we can better manage our energy consumption. 

What are the advantages of using Edge data centres and how far are they relied on for performance on the track?

Edge data centres are used trackside, as they are more compact and easier to transport. The solution is quick, reliable and if connection is broken between track and HQ, track can still continue operating as a stand-alone solution. 

Edge data centres are also a critical enabler to making the car go faster, by giving us the benefit of cloud computing at the track. They can create an efficient data pipeline and provide capabilities to implement AI/ML trackside to perform analysis in real time, providing predictions that could make the car go faster. NetApp’s SnapMirror technology underpins this, allowing us to send telemetry data from the Track back to HQ at a significantly improved rate, enabling our team to make continuous improvements. 

What do you expect from 2024 and how will you continue utilising technology for optimal results?

I expect our data capabilities to evolve significantly over the course of 2024 as we work to improve our performance and achieve better results on track. Teaming up with world-class partners such as NetApp, Juniper and Sentinel One will only increase our operational efficiency, provide rapid insights and ensures sustainability remains at the top of our agenda.  

F1 teams generate a huge amount of data, gathered from simulation after simulation back at the campus, as well as on track. Every time the car completes a lap with the team, the simulation and actuals need to be correlated. Let’s not forget the vast amount of media coverage that each race and team receives. All this data needs to be tagged, analysed, stored and leveraged for competitive gain – all of which relies heavily on IT to enable and do so at lightning speed.

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