Racing Up with Digital Transformation
In an industry where every millisecond counts, here’s how Microsoft’s digital technologies are helping Renault Sports to win; both on and off track
Formula One is one of the most watched sporting event globally, with over 1.6 billion cumulative audience a year. It is a sport that persistently pushes the limits of its people, processes, cars, and drivers in order to outperform its competitors.
In 2016, Renault decided to get back into team ownership to participate in the Formula One races round the world. Sports racing is no longer about the car and its technology. The impact of information technology has redefined the game.
Renault’s corporate literature states:
“At the end of 2015 Renault announced it would return to team ownership.
For 2016, the Renault name once again raced in F1
as a full manufactur er entry, under the Renault Sport Formula One Team banner as part of a minimum nineyear commitment to the sport with aspirations to once more return to the top step of the podium and challenge for championships.”
As a challenger brand, Renault Sport Formula One Team relies heavily on technology to help simplify processes, ease workflows and ultimately enable its engineering team to better plan and report on performances of the car on track. 2017 is the first year the company built its own R.S. 17 car as one single entity, and the goal is to break into the top three, in three years’ time.
Microsoft has been working with Renault Sport Formula One Team since 2012, when previously it was known as Lotus F1 Team. Said Simon Davies, Vice President for Microsoft Business Solutions, Microsoft Asia, “The goal of the partnership was for the race team to optimize their business processes and increase operational efficiency, improve quality, and enable a performance-driven approach by maximizing the impact of technology.”
In effect, Microsoft has been the key partner to Renault Sports Racing in its digital transformation. Said Pierre d’Imbleval, CIO, Renault Sport Formula One Team, “For an industry where every millisecond counts, we need to tap on the power of digital in order to win; both on and off track. And for the Renault Sport Formula One Team, digital transformation is racing ahead at full throttle. Microsoft plays a huge role in this transformation.”
Renault Sports Racing’s partnership with Microsoft involves four key technologies: Dynamics 365, Azure, Power BI, and Office 365.
With Microsoft Cloud’s business application tools such as Power BI and Dynamics 365, the team has been able to flag inefficiencies in its manufacturing processes. It has also enabled the team to garner detailed insights on everything from costs and staffing to material orders. Our team has seen an efficiency improvement of 20% during the manufacturing process, from design to storage, for selected parts, said Pierre. He adds, “More importantly, any small improvements that we can make to streamline our operations and processes can snowball into huge gains on the tracks.”
Use of Microsoft Cloud has been a game-changer for Renault. Sports racing is data intensive. Pierre says that on a race weekend, the cars generate more than 35 billion data points equivalent to about 30GB of data; their supercomputer generates 60TB of data per week – that’s enough storage for 25,000 hours’ worth of movies.
With Microsoft Cloud, Renault team is now able to analyze sets of data retrieved from the race cars on the track in real-time to maximize race simulations. Insights can be immediately retrieved and further analyzed by