Something that isn’t so obvious is the electronics on the car, where technology has gone through a major advancement in the last decade. One example of how much the electronics on the car have evolved is looking at data. In 2011, F1 cars logged around 500 channels of data.
In 2020, cars are limited to 1,500 high-rate channels and many thousands of background channels, too. The increased data logging also has an impact on the amount of data a single car collects over a race weekend. In 2011, the Turkish Grand Prix weekend would amount to around 18GB per car. Today, this will be closer to 70GB.
The car’s electronic layout has changed a lot, too, with an increased use of small sensor nodes around the car. These are each capable of acquiring data from many sensors and communicating back to a central datalogger. Wireless sensor technology has undergone a vast improvement, allowing an increased use of small, wireless nodes for data gathering and wireless offloading of data generated on test or practice days.
One example is the tyre pressure monitoring systems, which were quite bulky in 2011 and transmitted in the 400MHz range. Today, the sensors are smaller, with higher frequency transmission and lower battery use - an evolution that our Electronics department compare with going from a walky-talky to a smartphone!
Another example is the way in which the teams gather tyre temperature information. In 2011, we ran large, external infrared cameras. Now, the sensors are completely integrated and give drivers access to multipoint tyre temperature information at all times.