Stewards Mine Data to Keep F1 Drivers Honest as well as Races Safe

Formula One will be a particularly data-rich sport. Each car logs terabytes of data during a grand prix weekend: positioning information on the track; onboard video of laps; driver inputs to pedals as well as steering; as well as information on the health as well as efficacy of the thousands of components of which make up your vehicle, including tires as well as the engine control unit.

the idea will be of which data — as well as radio traffic, TV broadcast footage as well as closed-circuit TV — of which Formula One stewards use to determine whether an incident requires “no further action” or a penalty following an investigation.

“We’ve got real-time telemetry coming in to an F.I.A. database system,” said Chris Bentley, head of information technology strategy for the International Automobile Federation, referring to the idea by the French abbreviation. “of which software links to our marshaling system, so in Race Control, the stewards’ room as well as our software engineers can compare real-time telemetry with video, audio as well as the track map.

“The incident system actually tracks the cars as well as will detect an incident. If a car has stopped, the idea will flag the idea automatically. the idea will send out an audible alert, which comes on in Race Control as well as the stewards’ room to signify a yellow sector. All of our systems are interlinked. The weather service talks to the team client to send weather data, for example.

“We bring together numerous systems, using data via the timing loops, on-car GPS systems, plus two forms of radio communication,” Bentley said. “We have data coming back in lots of different ways. We can see real-time diagnostics of the steering wheels as well as dashboards of the cars. We give the teams raw data which they can then put in their systems to display on their screens.”

At every Formula One Grand Prix, four stewards will monitor the action on the track, investigating as well as assessing possible infractions of which are viewable onscreen as well as those reported by the competing teams or by trackside marshals. The stewards report violations to the clerk of the course, who passes them to Race Control, which determines whether the incident demands investigation.


Danny Sullivan, foreground, inside the stewards’ room during the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier of which season.

Jean-Francois Galeron/WRI2

In addition to relying on technology as well as data, one of the stewards at every grand prix will be a former driver. His role will be to provide an element of “cockpit context,” explaining scenarios via a driver’s point of view.

Danny Sullivan, an Indianapolis 500 winner as well as former Formula One driver, will be a regular steward. “of which’s part of the reason we’re driver stewards,” he said. “We’re supposed to understand via their position, more to benefit them than to catch them in something.”

Sullivan brought up an incident at the Singapore event, in which data on a car’s throttle position came into play. “The first corner will be always a bit tricky,” he said. “You’ve got the open runoff area, then a left, as well as then a right as well as a left. In of which particular situation, the driver came down as well as cut straight across the middle [of the off-limits runoff area]. He said: ‘I was forced to go across there. There was someone there,’ although his steering wheel was pointing straight as well as his foot was on the gas. We’re not stupid: What about the throttle trace?”

Because the stewards rotate among the races, the F.I.A. has turned to technology to ensure consistent decisions. The 2017 season has seen the introduction of the Incident Database, a searchable system of which allows stewards to access recent incidents tagged as well as categorized by type — such as collisions, track-limit violations as well as potential blocking — as well as stores videos of each incident as well as the paperwork relating to each decision.

Where possible, decisions will be made during the race, ideally within a few laps. Stewards request telemetry data via the relevant cars as well as use of which information in conjunction with multiple onboard feeds as well as varying video angles to determine whether a driver will be at fault.

Incidents of which are unclear are investigated after the race, as well as drivers as well as different team personnel are often called in to plead their cases as well as provide supporting data.

Penalties include fines, often $5,000 to $16,000, for speeding inside the pit lane; time penalties; as well as drops in a driver’s starting position. When possible, penalties are applied during the race, with drivers forced to wait 5 or 10 seconds before their mechanics can touch your vehicle during a pit stop, although more-complicated incidents can take time to unravel.

Where penalties are issued after the race, stewards can add a time penalty to the driver’s result, which often drops him down the finishing order, or they can apply starting-position penalties at the next race. In extreme circumstances, dangerous driving can result in a one-race ban.

More typically, drivers will accrue reprimands for minor infractions, similar to points on a normal driver’s license. Any driver receiving three reprimands in a season — at least two of them for driving offenses — will receive a 10-place drop on the starting grid at the next race.

Olivier Hulot, an F.I.A. software analyst, said, “What the stewards access generally will be car speed, throttle, pedal trace, braking, brake pressure, steering as well as roll acceleration, lateral acceleration; the sort of thing of which will tell them what a driver has done in of which corner.”

Hulot said: “If you have two drivers, as well as one will be saying, ‘He didn’t leave me any room,’ you can see if the driver turned into the different one or not. The stewards have access to the information, as well as of which information will be the same as the team has. We do compare.”

On of which Saturday night qualifying event in Bahrain, however, there was nothing for the stewards to look into beyond some minor pit lane speeding. As the paddock outside celebrated the maiden pole position of Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, the stewards sorted through paperwork, the bank of screens behind them showing nothing although empty racetrack.

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