As we get closer to the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season, we’re not only treated to one of the greatest battles in decades, but we’re entering a new world of Formula 1 with a new generation of fans and brands leading the charge.

Yesterday, we witnessed Lewis Hamilton close the gap to Max Verstappen to 0 points going into the final race of the season.

Modern Formula 1 is leveraging data more than ever before, and teams like McLaren and Red Bull in particular are doing a great job building out a digital-first approach.

In actuality, every Formula 1 team is partnering with a tech company to help optimize race decisions through data.

With the new regulations coming in Formula 1, it will be more important than ever to be extremely efficient in development.

That happens through data. More importantly, taking the “least” valuable telemetry and using it into useful data that teams can use to win.

Red Bull’s Partnership with Oracle

Oracle’s sponsorship with Red Bull goes beyond just a logo on merchandise and the car. There’s a fully functional partnership that has Red Bull using Oracle’s data analytics technology to run massive amounts of racing simulations to optimize pit stop and tire selection strategies.

Beyond race simulations, Oracle and Red Bull announced — earlier this year — a fan loyalty program using Oracle’s CrowdTwist Loyalty and Engagement.

First, The Red Bull Racing Paddock, a one-of-a-kind loyalty program within Formula 1 racing, is now available. The Paddock delivers a unique personalized experience to each fan to bring them closer than ever to the race action, and make them feel like they are truly a member of the Red Bull Racing Honda team.

Using Oracle CrowdTwist Loyalty and Engagement, The Paddock rewards fans for both their in-person and digital interactions with the Red Bull Racing Honda team with “money-can’t-buy” rewards.

Sports without fans don’t exist. Period.

Fans are devoted to their favorite athletes, teams, and sports for their entire lives. I’m a sports fan, so I speak with confidence when I talk about the time, money, and energy that I’ve poured into every aspect of the sports I love — Formula 1 being one of those.

I mentioned that sports are nothing without fans, and that’s because without fans, there are no sponsorships and there is much less revenue to teams.

It’s not only the right thing to do to reward loyal fans or attract new ones, but it has become smart business.

Creating intriguing, interactive programs helps ensure that fans have fun every time they engage — virtually or in the real world — with their franchise.

For example, if fans build a profile or read driver profiles on the Red Bull Racing Honda website, they earn points. They earn more points each time they watch race highlights, take quizzes, find hidden codes, and refer friends. As their points accrue, they can level up from Red Bull Racing Honda Driver to Red Bull Racing Honda Legend, and redeem points for merchandise, digital downloads, autographed items, unforgettable VIP experiences, and more.

Since launching, The Red Bull Racing Paddock loyalty program has already generated substantial engagement, including significant growth in their fan account members, and earned kudos from fans around the world.

The Paddock loyalty program is the first of many fan-focused initiatives to come from Oracle and Red Bull Racing Honda, and it’s been promised more are coming.

Splunk Helping McLaren Make Better Decisions

McLaren and Splunk have a newer relationship (starting in 2020) and are approaching things from a technical perspective.

Splunk’s software helps capture, index, and correlate real-time data in a searchable archive, from which it can generate graphs, reports, alerts, dashboards, and visualizations. Splunk uses machine data for identifying data patterns, providing metrics, diagnosing problems, and providing intelligence for business operations.

Splunk’s job is to take over 1.5 terabytes of data generated by the McLaren MCL35’s 300+ sensors and get it over to the 30+ engineers back at McLaren Technology Center in Woking.

What Splunk does with businesses, is exactly what their technology can do to close the millisecond gaps that winning requires: turning data into doing.

With hundreds of inputs and thousands, if not millions, of data points being generated each second, Splunk’s task isn’t an easy one. And ensuring racers are prepared for each race is what’s on the line.

Acronis Protects Williams’ Data

Earlier this year, Williams extended their partnership with Acronis, a cyber security firm.

Acronis provides the world’s most complete and innovative data protection technology to motorsport teams, including backup, storage, disaster recovery, blockchain certification, AI-based active ransomware protection, and secure file sync and share solutions.

Williams has benefited from Acronis Cyber Protect since 2020, a unique AI-enhanced solution that integrates data protection with cybersecurity, preventing cyberattacks and helping the team avoid downtime.

Acronis uniquely combines automation and integration, ensuring the prevention, detection, response, recovery, and analysis needed to safeguard all workloads while streamlining protection efforts.

With Williams, Vuzion, an Acronis reseller, supports the delivery of Acronis’ solutions, solving the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of modern Formula 1.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s data for better racing decisions or data for a better fan experience, there’s little doubt that data partnerships are the crucial cog in the flywheel of Formula 1’s future.

Oracle, Acronis and Splunk might be leading the current charge, but I suspect there to be many more partners joining the sport over the coming years.

Tech companies I would keep my eye on to join the sport sooner rather than later (full disclosure, some are clients):

  • Salesforce

  • Adobe

  • Qualtrics

  • SAP

  • Lenovo

  • Google

  • Qualcomm

There are plenty more firms out there that are are doing some amazing work within AI, machine learning, big data and analytics. And those are the future partners of Formula 1.

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