Issue: Dec 2006


New electronic solutions to provide cost-effective power train control to all Formula One teams



Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems Win Race to Provide Electronic Technology to the FIA Formula One World Championship for 2008 to 2010

by Lenny Case

Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems Win Race to Provide Electronic Technology to the FIA Formula One World Championship for 2008 to 2010

New electronic solutions to provide cost-effective power train control plus high-speed data delivery and analysis capabilities to all Formula One teams.

As part of the FIA's commitment to reduce costs, increase competition, and support fuel efficiency and energy recovery initiatives in Formula One, it tendered the contract for the appointment of a supplier of standard ECUs and associated software. The winning bid, jointly presented by MES and Microsoft, was confirmed by the FIA on July 5, 2006, following a meeting of the World Motorsport Council. The three parties have now finalized the contracts.

MES will work with Microsoft to develop the ECU systems and will then manufacture and supply the units to all competing Formula One teams for installation on their vehicles. The ECUs will monitor all aspects of the power train and gather data from over 100 sensors located on each car. Generating on average 100 KB to 500 KB of data per second, one car's ECU will potentially gather more than 1 GB of information from the sensors during a grand prix race. This data will be continuously broadcast in real time back to systems located in the pit-side garage of each Formula One team for detailed analysis.

These systems will provide enhanced capabilities to process high-fidelity health and performance information; the ability to store and compare historical data from tests drives, previous races and dyno runs; and the verification of car setup and race strategy simulations. As a result, faster vehicle setup and race strategy decisions may be made.

Together, MES and Microsoft will streamline the ability of both Formula One pit-side racing teams and their engineering colleagues to access, share and analyze data in real time, to make quicker, better and more-informed decisions. The two companies will continue to extend this technology during the life of the project. This will be achieved by integrating the latest high- performance computing using Microsoft(R) Windows Vista(TM), Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 2005, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and other Microsoft software platforms and products as appropriate.

"With the best interests of motorsport at heart, we have introduced new regulations that will help cut costs while also retaining each team's ability to compete hard and sustain safety levels," said Max Mosley, president of the FIA. "The tender process gave us an opportunity to view proposals from different suppliers. We selected what we consider is the most efficient and cost-effective solution for providing ECUs to the Formula One community. We will follow this project closely and look forward to seeing the results in 2008."

"We have been involved in Formula One and other forms of professional motorsport for 15 years and already work with all the Formula One teams," said Peter van Manen, managing director of MES. "We are delighted to be working closely with Microsoft and the FIA to supply the standard ECUs to Formula One. Our work with Microsoft allows us to combine MES' considerable knowledge and experience of providing systems at the highest levels of motorsport with Microsoft's innovative technologies to deliver the best electronic system possible."

"In all industries, Microsoft's aim is to provide people with the right technology and the right tools to enable them to succeed in their business, while also keeping costs to a minimum," said Manuel Simas, director of worldwide automotive industry at Microsoft. "This is exactly what we are offering to all of the Formula One teams. We are very excited to be involved in this development with MES, of what we believe will be a robust, scalable and easy-to-use system. We are looking forward to working with MES and the FIA on this project over the coming years."

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile ("FIA") represents the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users throughout the world and is also the governing body of motorsport worldwide, including the FIA Formula One World Championship. This combination of road and track gives the FIA a unique responsibility as an independent world body concerned with a wide range of automotive, motoring and mobility issues. On issues such as safety, mobility, the environment and consumer law, the FIA actively promotes the interests of motorists at the United Nations, within the European Union and other international bodies. More information can be found online at http://www.fia.com/ .

McLaren Electronic Systems has been developing, manufacturing and deploying advanced electronic control and data systems at the highest levels of motorsport for more than 15 years. During this time the company has worked with most of the major automotive manufacturers and constructors in open- wheel, sports car, rally and motorbike applications. In Formula One, the control systems from McLaren Electronic Systems have clocked-up many thousands of race miles on different cars and engines over the years. The company develops and manufacturers its hardware platforms and software in purpose built premises in the UK. McLaren Electronic Systems has been ISO9000 accredited for over 10 years covering all hardware and software design, manufacturing and testing activities. More information can be found online at http://www.mclarenelectronics.com/ .

Microsoft has been present in the automotive industry for over 10 years, providing OEM and manufacturing companies in the automotive industry with innovative technology and helping people do their jobs in a more efficient and effective way. Microsoft helps automotive companies achieve real-time collaboration and true plant-floor intelligence, gain visibility across the global supply chain, and employ mobility solutions that help grow their business and set it apart from the competition. In addition to the Automotive Manufacturing unit, Microsoft also has a dedicated Automotive Business Unit that works with automakers and their suppliers to provide state-of-the-art in- car communication, information and entertainment experiences. Microsoft's automotive-grade operating systems power more 65 in-car devices from 18 automakers and suppliers.

Microsoft, in conjunction with its team of industry leaders, delivers enterprise solutions to a range of manufacturers including those in vertical industries such as automotive, chemical, consumer packaged goods, high technology, and oil and gas. These industry-specific solutions provide a flexible, scalable and reliable platform that helps to enable businesses to be more agile and connected. As a result, manufacturers can shorten product development cycles, integrate operations with partners and suppliers, acquire and share intelligence in real time, and more easily communicate with customers. More information about Microsoft in manufacturing can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/manufacturing .

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