"This weekend marks the return of the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, a circuit that has changed considerably since Formula One last raced there in 1990. This presents teams with an interesting array of challenges.
"The first step in preparing for the French GP was to generate accurate maps of Paul Ricard, which features a 5.842km lap (made up of 15 corners, six left and nine right).
"The simplest way to create these is from engineering drawings of the circuit, knowing the kerbs and the topography of it. However, most teams these days will try to use laser-generated Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) maps, which are even more accurate.
"In addition to the high accuracy, Lidar maps offer another advantage: they contain all the visual features of the area. They will therefore be used for the Driver-In-Loop (DIL) simulator because they give the drivers the visual recognition to match what they see in reality.
"The team also needs accurate maps for its other simulations tools, which gather data and churn through the numbers, giving the team an initial direction on how to approach the weekend. For a well-known track, those simulations would also rely on historical car data; for a new track, however, the racing line for the simulations will be derived from the DIL laps."