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Formula 1 racing and Microsoft

Posted March 16th, 2008 by

The 2008 F1 season kicked off yesterday in Australia. It was a very good race. For 2008, the cars won’t have traction control like they did in prior seasons, so the driver’s skill determines to larger extent how well they launch from the start/finish line at the start of a race, and how well they come out of corners. Lots of cars were getting really twitchy in the race, and it made it more fun to watch :) . Apparently Melbourne will not longer be on the F1 tour next year, to be replaced by a track in Russia.

It turns out that all teams will have to use the same ECU developed by Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems. While it sucks that F1 is becoming so homogenized, it’s kinda cool to see Microsoft ECU’s in F1 cars :) . Read more about it here.

I wonder how all the teams feel that they are using a McLaren ECU in their engines :) . Due to the homogenization of the engine, ECU, etc. the aero designs of the current crop of 2008 cars are wild and crazy :) . The BMW Sauber car is especially interesting looking. The McLaren looks pretty wild too.

Here’s the BMW:

Here’s the front end of the McLaren:


This is somewhat unrelated, but Conchango (a high end consulting company) worked with McLaren Electronic Systems to create telemetry systems for their F1 cars. Read more about it here.

Here are some other products that McLaren Electronic Systems sells for trackside telemetry, they run on Windows:

  • System Monitor manages all the program and data versions in an electronic control unit and provides the developer, tuner and race engineer with complete and flexible access to the maps, logging parameters, errors and events which are held in a motorsport control unit. The product can be linked to PUMA on engine testbeds to help automate the engine tuning process.
  • ATLAS provides a real-time link to the car on the track (in categories in which telemetry is permitted) with advanced display and analysis capabilities. The software can be used as standalone software to handle all the dyno and garage analysis needs or linked to team tools and race sheets via ActiveX.

Update – Mar 17 2008 – I remembered reading about something about Java, Jini and F1 a few years ago. So after a little digging, I found more details on it. Here’s a link with more details on a Jini based implementation of a Real Time Telemetry System that Magneti Marelli Motorosports built for use in F1 in 2005. Good stuff :) . Here’s a link to some slides about it. Here are links to videos about it: (MOV) (iPod).


3 Responses to “Formula 1 racing and Microsoft”

  1. David Portas Says:

    There is also a Microsoft case study about the solution that McLaren and Conchango are developing. I blogged about it here:

  2. Nazmul Idris Says:

    Hi David

    Thanks for the link to the case study. It’s really interesting stuff!

    Take care

  3. Veronica Says:

    Microsoft ROCKS!!! I feel so bad when people say bad things about microsoft! Apple looks like a toy, and Microsoft is the best!