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Engineering

Marcia Wendorf on F1's changes since 1950

I spoke about the relationship between cars and Moore’s Law a few days ago and I wonder how that might translate to Formula 1. Marcia Wendorf charted the evolution of the sport and a lot has changed since the first Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950.

Formula 1 is undoubtedly the most technologically advanced motorsport in the world today.

Since 1950, a sort of arms race has been going on, not between the drivers on the track, but among the engineers who design F1 cars and the technicians who build them.

Besides the vastly improved engines and advances in engineering and aerodynamics, data has also played a major part in recent years:

Probably the biggest change in Formula 1 cars since 2011 is in data acquisition. In 2011, F1 cars were able to log around 500 channels of data, while today’s cars have around 1,500 high-rate data channels. This means that on a typical race weekend, a single car collects around 70GB of data, while in 2011, only 18GB of data would have been collected.

That’s over 1TB of data for one car over the course of a regular F1 season. Phenomenal.

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