Re­nault Sports Rac­ing and Mi­crosoft— Part­ner­ing for Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion


Re­nault Sport For­mula One Team (for­merly known as Lo­tus F1 Team) be­gins its part­ner­ship with Mi­crosoft, fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive as­sess­ment of ven­dors in mar­kets Its deployment of Dynamics AX was di­rected at im­prove­ments in fi­nan­cials, HR, pur­chas­ing and ma­te­ri­als man­age­ment. The Team trans­formed its Aero­dy­nam­ics divi­sion by bring­ing the de­part­ment on­line in Oc­to­ber 2013. The divi­sion, also known as “Aero” in­ter­nally, is where first pro­to­types come to life. By trans­form­ing the divi­sion, the Team was able to stream­line en­gi­neer­ing pro­cesses, where thou­sands of it­er­a­tions of ex­per­i­men­tal shapes and parts can be han­dled in an op­ti­mal man­ner with Mi­crosoft Dynamics AX in the cloud. The Team con­tin­ued its trans­for­ma­tion by bring­ing the rest of its man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­duc­tion plan­ning and sched­ul­ing on­line. Pre­vi­ously, mul­ti­ple de­part­ments were man­ag­ing the build­ing of the cars man­u­ally through spread­sheets. With the in­tro­duc­tion of Mi­crosoft Dynamics AX, plan­ning teams are able to ben­e­fit greatly from stream­lined pro­cesses, even with rapid man­u­fac­tur­ing changes on a daily ba­sis. The Team also went live with Of­fice 365 and Mi­crosoft Azure. In ad­di­tion, the Team also im­ple­mented Mi­crosoft SQL Server and StreamIn­sight for real-time an­a­lyt­ics of teleme­try data cap­tured from in-car sen­sors. The Team fully de­ployed Mi­crosoft Cloud, in­clud­ing Of­fice 365 which en­abled em­ploy­ees to have un­lim­ited email stor­age, as well as a set of in­te­grated ap­pli­ca­tions that en­abled them to ac­cess data on-the-go, thus in­creas­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion among team mem­bers. More im­por­tantly, Of­fice 365 has helped to re­duce travel and flights be­tween sites by 50% and mo­bile phone costs by 30%. (2017 data) In ad­di­tion, these cloud-based tools also al­lowed the team to an­a­lyse data from race per­for­mance, op­er­a­tions and even cus­tomer man­age­ment to max­i­mize per­for­mance on and off the track in an ag­ile man­ner. 30 on-premise servers were also de­com­mis­sioned and re­placed by a Mi­crosoft-sup­ported cloud en­vi­ron­ment. The Team was able to ben­e­fit from the seam­less in­te­gra­tion be­tween Dynamics AX and Power BI (Mi­crosoft’s vi­su­al­iza­tion tool) with Of­fice 365 for Busi­ness to fully har­ness the power of the cloud. Tran­si­tion con­tin­ues with Team’s adop­tion of Mi­crosoft Dynamics 365’s flex­i­ble en­ter­prise re­source-plan­ning (ERP) tools to en­sure smooth de­liv­ery of new parts and com­po­nents. Pre­vi­ously, the team would pro­duce a spread­sheet of over 77,000 lines per sea­son. The team also saw 20% ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ment in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process from de­sign to stores for se­lected parts Re­nault Sport For­mula One Team will be work­ing to tap on the power of ma­chine learn­ing and Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence by in­te­grat­ing teleme­try data cap­tured, with the sup­port of Mi­crosoft to bet­ter their lap times and aim for a podium fin­ish. The Team is also ex­plor­ing the use of HoloLens for main­te­nance of the race cars and equip­ment, and for de­sign re­view be­tween fac­to­ries to en­able a per­fect in­te­gra­tion of the chas­sis and power unit.

en­gi­neers at the two fac­to­ries based in United King­dom and France, in re­duced time. Adds Si­mon, “One other ben­e­fit of host­ing data in the Mi­crosoft Cloud is the abil­ity to im­me­di­ately gain in­sights and of­fer cor­rec­tions be­fore the start of the next race.”

New tech­nolo­gies such as ma­chine learn­ing also play a huge role. Says Pierre, “With Azure Ma­chine Learn­ing, we are able to un­der­stand and op­ti­mize our race cars’ per­for­mances, such as pre­dict­ing and cre­at­ing an ac­cu­rate tyre degra­da­tion model for sim­u­la­tion for ev­ery race course. This will al­low our driv­ers to feel as though they are in­side a race car on the cir­cuit dur­ing sim­u­la­tion ses­sions. The ac­cu­racy of such sim­u­la­tions can save up to one sec­ond per lap – which can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning or los­ing the cham­pi­onship.”

Beat­ing the odds of time, build­ing a car, and putting it to race is the ul­ti­mate test for seam­less col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween teams. Pierre gives us a sense of this when he says that it takes more than 1,000 pro­fes­sion­als from var­i­ous func­tions and of­fices to de­sign, build and op­er­ate the two cars for 20 races ev­ery sea­son. There are also around 90 peo­ple work­ing on-the-go dur­ing the race sea­son.By us­ing Of­fice 365, and par­tic­u­larly Skype for Busi­ness, Re­nault’s teams can seam­lessly col­lab­o­rate be­tween en­gi­neer­ing, lo­gis­tics, and op­er­a­tions teams. The team is also ex­plor­ing the use of HoloLens for the main­te­nance of the race cars and equip­ment, and for de­sign re­view be­tween fac­to­ries to en­able a per­fect in­te­gra­tion of the chas­sis and power unit.

The Re­nault team is al­ready work­ing to tap on the power of AI by in­te­grat­ing teleme­try data cap­tured by the 200 sen­sors in the cars to bet­ter an­tic­i­pate is­sues on and off tracks – in­clud­ing en­gine and power unit per­for­mance in var­i­ous race con­di­tions. Says Pierre, “We want to be ahead of the game, and mak­ing our data work for us be­fore and dur­ing the race is cru­cial.”

(L-R) Pierre d’Im­bl­e­val, CIO, Re­nault Sport For­mula One Team and Si­mon Davies, Vice Pres­i­dent for Mi­crosoft Busi­ness So­lu­tions, Mi­crosoft Asia

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