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Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems (MES) will be the official suppliers of engine control units (ECUs) to the Fédèration Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 racing seasons.
As part of the FIA’s commitment to reduce costs, increase competition, and support fuel efficiency and energy recovery initiatives in Formula One, it tendered the contract for the appointment of a supplier of standard ECUs and associated software. The winning bid, jointly presented by MES and Microsoft, was confirmed by the FIA on July 5, 2006, following a meeting of the World Motorsport Council. The three parties have now finalized the contracts.
MES will work with Microsoft to develop the ECU systems and will then manufacture and supply the units to all competing Formula One teams for installation on their vehicles. The ECUs will monitor all aspects of the power train and gather data from over 100 sensors located on each car. Generating on average 100 KB to 500 KB of data per second, one car’s ECU will potentially gather more than 1 GB of information from the sensors during a grand prix race. This data will be continuously broadcast in real time back to systems located in the pit-side garage of each Formula One team for detailed analysis.
These systems will provide enhanced capabilities to process high-fidelity health and performance information; the ability to store and compare historical data from tests drives, previous races and dyno runs; and the verification of car setup and race strategy simulations. As a result, faster vehicle setup and race strategy decisions may be made.
Together, MES and Microsoft will streamline the ability of both Formula One pit-side racing teams and their engineering colleagues to access, share and analyze data in real time, to make quicker, better and more-informed decisions. The two companies will continue to extend this technology during the life of the project. This will be achieved by integrating the latest high-performance computing using Microsoft® Windows Vista™, Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and other Microsoft software platforms and products as appropriate.
“With the best interests of motorsport at heart, we have introduced new regulations that will help cut costs while also retaining each team’s ability to compete hard and sustain safety levels,” said Max Mosley, president of the FIA. “The tender process gave us an opportunity to view proposals from different suppliers. We selected what we consider is the most efficient and cost-effective solution for providing ECUs to the Formula One community. We will follow this project closely and look forward to seeing the results in 2008.”
“We have been involved in Formula One and other forms of professional motorsport for 15 years and already work with all the Formula One teams,” said Peter van Manen, managing director of MES. “We are delighted to be working closely with Microsoft and the FIA to supply the standard ECUs to Formula One. Our work with Microsoft allows us to combine MES’ considerable knowledge and experience of providing systems at the highest levels of motorsport with Microsoft’s innovative technologies to deliver the best electronic system possible.”
“In all industries, Microsoft’s aim is to provide people with the right technology and the right tools to enable them to succeed in their business, while also keeping costs to a minimum,” said Manuel Simas, director of worldwide automotive industry at Microsoft. “This is exactly what we are offering to all of the Formula One teams. We are very excited to be involved in this development with MES, of what we believe will be a robust, scalable and easy-to-use system. We are looking forward to working with MES and the FIA on this project over the coming years.”