When every second counts

When the F1 teams rolled into Melbourne on the 17th of March, we had a lot to get excited about – this year Microsoft would be trackside. Not just in the stands mind you, Microsoft was a proud partner of the Lotus F1 team. Together, the aim was to help Lotus build a faster car.

After spending some time behind the scenes, it was eye-opening to get an inside view into the office of the Lotus 1 engineers. Their office for the weekend is small, tight, restricted and you get an overwhelming sense that space is at a premium and the star of the show is the car.

The Lotus F1 Team knows better than anyone that theirs is a sport where every single thousandth of a second counts. The team is constantly pushing the limits of its people, processes, cars and drivers in an attempt to outperform its rivals. Even the smallest parts of a car goes through constant enhancements in design, aerodynamic optimisation, and structural strengthening.

In few other businesses is there a greater need for critically relevant information delivered to the right person in a timely manner.  Here success is directly related to the series of decisions made in fine-tuning every aspect of every tactical and business aspect of the sport at every moment during the competition.

This effort doesn’t just stop when the car is designed and built, it continues throughout the entire season. In any given race, around one hundred areas for concern or interest arise on the car. There may be a break or failure, or something more subtle. Generally, twenty of these things warrant further analysis. Between two and five of these will result in a required change to the car. Everyone must be able to focus on their part of the puzzle. Minutes wasted can mean milliseconds given up on the track and translate into millions of lost winnings.

This was where we came in. Managing a time sensitive operation like the Lotus F1 team, requires that the people in the organisation are equipped with solutions that are powerful and agile, giving them the ability to get the right information they need to do their jobs effectively anywhere and on any device.  Lotus F1 chose Microsoft Dynamics to help it transform its entire Lotus F1 team business, from manufacturing to the race track.  Through the agility of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Lotus F1 aims to improve capacity planning across manufacturing; improve management of information that contributes to operational efficiency; provide automation across the F1 car lifecycle (incl. Aerodynamics-Design-Manufacturing-Racing) and integrate across disparate systems to bring enhanced data accuracy and resource reporting.

Now a year in and the results have already led to an extension of our partnership until 2016, not to mention taking first place at the 2013 Rolex Australian Grand Prix with driver Kimi Raikkonen winning by a massive 12 seconds. Being part of such a massive achievement in our own backyard is something we’re very proud of!

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