What does data protection have to do with motorsport?

By Megs Suratkal | Published 2016-09-23

I’ve been following F1 for more than 20 years. It started when I was in college back in the nineties. Watching all-time great racers like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher reach the stars of the F1 firmament made me admire their dedication and skill as well as the technology behind their cars. Being a geek myself, I began to dig deeper into the sport, trying to uncover what makes one team better than another on the track.

What I discovered truly amazed me. Every single link between each team’s factory and its car’s starting position on the track relied on data. Everybody in the F1 racing industry uses data, needs data, relies on data to do their job. Data is the absolute foundation of this sport.

Without data, you can’t design a car. Without data, you can’t improve the car. Without data, you don’t even know whether it’s the car that needs improving or the driver’s strategy!

For example, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s STR11 car has over 200 sensors operating in real time and relaying data to the pits at the racetrack and the team’s factory in Italy. Race engineers are always working on improvements for the next race. Every race weekend, Toro Rosso generates over 700GB of data, every bit of which is assessed by the race engineers in near-real or real time.

Scuderia Toro Rosso Car
Daniil Kvyat of Scuderia Toro Rosso on track during the German Grand Prix on July 31, 2016. (Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool)

Why is this important? It’s because that data dramatically and directly affects the team’s performance on the track. For example, preparing for next week’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the Toro Rosso team knows that the Sepang International Circuit is 3.4 miles long, with 15 corners, and that drivers will have to complete 56 laps. Based on previously collected data, drivers go into the race knowing exactly when to brake, how to take each corner, and how to squeeze every last bit of power out of their cars.

Why Data Protection Matters For Scuderia Toro Rosso

The preparation that occurs behind the scenes before the race is completely driven by data. Franz Tost, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Team Principal, recently confirmed that losing data in the factory has a severe adverse effect on the team’s performance on the track. A one-week development delay in the factory has the potential to cause two- to three-tenths of a second delay on the track. And even in the qualifying sessions, that margin is critical. Every team is chasing a better position on the track: every millisecond counts.

And here is where the true connection between Acronis and Scuderia Toro Rosso lies. Acronis has the technology to protect all of Toro Rosso’s IT infrastructure and provide the ability to restore lost data in less than 15 seconds. Acronis’ patented technology, Acronis Instant Restore, allows IT Managers to reduce RTO to seconds by running any physical or virtual Windows or Linux system backup as a VMware or Hyper-V virtual machine.

With terabytes of critical data at stake, Scuderia Toro Rosso needs data protection technology that is able to keep up with the demands of the most data-intensive sport in the world — and Acronis is there to provide it.