When you think about driver performance, safety, and fuel efficiency, Formula 1 racing probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are actually plenty of lessons to be learned from watching these drivers and their teams compete.
Do you know what they are and how they can be applied to your fleet?
4 Lessons From F1 Racing
Formula 1 racing, which began in 1950, is known as the world’s most prestigious racing competition. It’s also the name behind some of racing’s biggest competitions, including the FIA Formula One World Championship, which runs from March through December each year and spans 21 races in 21 countries.
F1 cars are the fastest regulated road racing cars in the world. They frequently hit speeds of 110 to 130 miles per hour, while achieving top speeds of 160 miles per hour (or more) on certain courses. Not only that, but they’re able to hug turns and maneuver around tricky courses, thanks to the aerodynamic nature of the vehicles.
The average annual cost of running an F1 team – which includes designing, building, maintaining, transporting, and racing – is right around $247 million.
On the surface, F1 racing doesn’t seem to share much in common with fleet management. However, when you dig into the nitty-gritty of it, you’ll find that there are actually a number of lessons that F1 drivers can teach fleet drivers. In this article, we’ll explore a few of them.Source: mclaren.com
1. Rely on Your Data
From the outside looking in, you might think Formula 1 racing is all about drivers mashing the pedal to the metal and strong-arming their way around courses. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Each F1 race car now has more than 100 individual sensors spread across the vehicle. These sensors collect thousands of deep data points on every aspect of the vehicle. They measure things like downward force, brake temperature, fuel use, cornering speed, suspension, chassis, fluid levels, etc.
The collection and analysis of data starts even before the race begins.
“Similar to an airline pilot running a pre-flight checklist, pre-race sensor tests are performed by a data engineer, including calibration checks and tuning for conditions of each track,” PureStorage.com explains. “Every circuit is unique, which makes these pre-and mid-race sensor readings so critical.”
Once the race begins, there’s constant monitoring to analyze every aspect of the vehicle and the unique road and racing conditions. For example, the exhaust of an F1 car clocks in somewhere around 950 to 1,000 degrees. If cars trail directly behind another car for too long, it can cause engine temperatures to rise to excessive levels. When monitoring this data, engineers can suggest the driver back off or change positioning to let the engine cool. And that’s just one example!
As all of this data is collected, it’s shared with the driver and as many as 60-plus engineers and sports scientists. Plus, after a race, this data may also be relayed and analyzed by dozens of additional engineers across the globe.
What do F1 teams do with all of this data? Many teams will actually gather data on both their driver and competing drivers and run real-time simulations to identify possible outcomes for the race. Based on this, they make live tweaks and changes to improve their driver’s chance of victory.
Data can also be used to measure the impact and severity of a crash – such as an impact force and potential damage caused by the crash. This information is then relayed to doctors to give them insights into potential injuries and/or severity.
You probably don’t have 100-plus sensors spread around your fleet vehicle (or a team of hundreds of engineers watching and monitoring your every move), but you have access to more data than you realize. Solutions like Cetaris.com make it easier to manage fleets in a data-forward manner. Learn to rely on the data more, and you’ll consistently make smarter decisions.Source: motorsportmagazine.com
2. Never Stop Optimizing
One of the most amazing things about F1 racers and teams is how they never stop optimizing. Each individual course is so different. And the same goes for racing conditions on any given day. Without a commitment to constant optimization, it’s impossible to experience any level of success.
As a fleet driver or manager, you must undertake this same commitment to constant and never-ending improvement. Review the data, iterate, collect more data, analyze that data, and repeat. It might seem like an exhausting approach, but an iterative process like this is how you improve over time and avoid getting left behind.Source: the-race.com
3. Surround Yourself With the Right Team
Can you imagine if a Formula One racer attempted to race on his own without the support of a team? He wouldn’t even make it to the track. He needs a group of highly talented people around him so he can focus on the thing he’s good at: racing.
As a fleet driver, you’re just one piece of the equation. You have a whole team of people working behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly with your vehicle, route, delivery, etc. Like an F1 driver, the more you surround yourself with the right team, the better your results will be.Source: pinterest.com
4. Play to Your Strengths
Ayrton Senna, a three-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion (1988, 1990, and 1991), is known for being one of the most skilled drivers of his era. And while the championships didn’t come until he was 28, his preparation started well in advance.
Senna’s sister likes to tell the story of how the young Brazilian liked to race karts as a young kid. One time, frustrated by his horrid performance in the rain, he made a vow to practice more. Every time it rained, he got in his kart and started driving. Before too long, it became his strength. In the Grand Prix in Portugal back in 1985, wet conditions worked to his advantage. He won by over 60 seconds and lapped everyone up to the second place driver.
The moral of the story? Turn your weaknesses into strengths and learn how to leverage them to your advantage.Source: jonesonf1.wordpress.com
Adding it All Up
We’re not going to sit here and tell fleet drivers to mimic F1 racers while they’re on the road. (Nobody wants that!) But there are plenty of transferable lessons when it comes to using data, optimizing and maintaining vehicles, building out the right support teams, and using strengths and passions to elevate performance behind the wheel.
Even if it’s just one or two of these concepts, implementing them right away will lead to improved results.