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Tata Communications launches 2017 F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize

26 May 2017

Tata Communications, the Official Connectivity Provider to Formula 1® and the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, is today launching the 2017 F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize and unveiling the first challenge of this year’s competition – with a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). The first challenge, set by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, asks F1 fans and technology enthusiasts to come up with ideas for IoT solutions that could be used by the team to deliver peak performance at each Grand Prix.

“The Formula 1 racing calendar requires a feat of human performance, race operations and logistics like no other,” says James Allison, Technical Director of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. “We wish to measure and optimise every aspect of how our engineers and drivers operate across multiple time zones, as well as how we manage a large number of off-car devices and equipment to give us the best chance of on-track success. For example, we have a dedicated coach to analyse human performance and advise our drivers and engineers on optimal sleep patterns for long-haul flights, and how to collaborate more efficiently at the track.”

For a chance of winning the USD $50,000 Grand Prize, fans and technologists need to design an IoT solution that helps Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to enhance its competitiveness across three key areas: human performance, race operations and logistics management. It should show how team members, equipment and workspaces could be converted into always-connected beings and ‘things’. By harnessing the power of the IoT and real-time data analytics, the solution should empower Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to track, monitor and manage everything in real-time. This includes minimising the impact of jet lag on engineers and drivers, maximising the performance of an array of off-car components, such as tyre blankets and data storage units, and ensuring the timely arrival of freight at each race venue.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Driver and three-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, Lewis Hamilton - a judge for the 2017 F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize - says, “Formula 1 is all about new technologies and pushing the boundaries as far as we can; that’s what I love about the sport. The ‘Internet of Things’ has the potential to bring huge competitive advantages to our team’s operations, and change how fans experience the sport too. That’s what makes it so exciting. I can’t wait to see the ideas from fans for this challenge.”

“The future of the digital world lies in enabling tens of billions of people and things globally to become seamlessly connected - this will open up tremendous opportunities in how we engage with one another and everything around us,” says Julie Woods-Moss, Tata Communications’ President and Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer. “As F1 enters a new era of digital transformation, we want to drive innovation in the sport through game-changing IoT solutions that have the potential to not only take the teams’ execution on and off the track to the next level, but also enhance the race experience for fans around the world.”

The judges pick three winners from each of the two challenges of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize. The six winners will be awarded trips to the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the jury will announce the Grand Prize winner.

In addition to James Allison and Lewis Hamilton, the judging panel includes John Morrison, Chief Technical Officer of Formula One Group; Martin Brundle, former F1 race driver and F1 commentator for Sky Sports F1; and Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of F1 Business at Tata Communications. In addition - for the first time since the launch of the competition in 2014 - the F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize will have a guest judge. In 2017, the guest judge will be Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, Formula One Group, who will help pick the ultimate Grand Prize winner at the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A full brief for the first challenge can be downloaded from the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize website. The closing date for the first challenge is 15th June 2017. The second challenge will be set by Formula One Group on 13th July 2017, in the run-up to the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix.

As the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Tata Communications has trebled the speed of data transfer for the team, enabling real-time communications between the trackside and the team’s factory in the UK, and paving the way for the team to develop new, innovative ways to use data.

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