Winning the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix through data analytics

On October 2, 2022, in Singapore, Sergio Perez of Mexico and Red Bull Racing celebrate winning the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit.

How did Oracle play a part in this win?

Even the smallest actions can have a significant impact in situations when winning is decided by milliseconds rather than just seconds. A championship plan must therefore take into account every possible result.

CIO World Asia spoke with Chris Chelliah, SVP, Technology & Customer Strategy, Oracle, JAPAC and Zoe Chilton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Oracle Red Bull Racing to get the insights into the race and collaboration.

Why did Oracle decide to team up with Red Bull Racing – and not other Formula 1 teams?

Chris Chelliah, SVP, Technology & Customer Strategy, Oracle, JAPAC: Oracle and Oracle Red Bull Racing had an existing partnership in the 2021 race season, which turned out to be the most successful season that Oracle Red Bull Racing has had in recent history. From this initial success, Oracle and Oracle Red Bull Racing saw it as a natural progression to enhance the partnership and expand its use of Oracle Cloud across its most significant areas of operations including analytics-based race strategy, optimised engine development, and AI and machine learning-powered young driver training.

We also believed that we had the capability to enable Oracle Red Bull Racing to significantly reduce the cost of billions of strategy simulations. For instance, the team used to conduct all of its strategy simulations on-site just about 18 months ago, but today, as a result of our partnership, the cloud is utilised for running these billions of simulations.

In fact, Formula 1 draws many parallels to the business world. The pinnacle for most business owners is to be able to shift their business trajectory by 1-2 degrees, gain first mover advantage in a new segment, fend off a competitor or better engage their customers. Our partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing like our other customers is to support them to achieve just that.

Besides Oracle Red Bull Racing, Oracle has a variety of sports sponsorships, including those with the Premier League and SailGP. The opportunity to demonstrate how our technology could help Oracle Red Bull Racing in a competitive environment appealed to us greatly.

How critical is real-time data analytics in a large-scale race such as F1 and how can this be applied to business processes? 

Zoe Chilton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Oracle Red Bull Racing: In Formula 1, every second – or millisecond for that matter – counts towards the race outcome. When it comes down to plotting out a strategy for the race, there are a lot of uncertainties that come with it. External and internal factors, such as weather conditions, pit stop times, and even potential incidents, all affect the outcome of the race. Being able to make real-time decisions as these factors change can make all the difference between finishing first and missing out on a podium.  

What role do simulations play when it comes to leading up to the success of the race?

Chris Chelliah, SVP, Technology & Customer Strategy, Oracle, JAPAC: Oracle Red Bull Racing’s race engineers simulate billions of possible scenarios and outcomes using Monte Carlo methods on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) in order to comprehend the ramifications of these probabilities. The faster the simulation data is processed, the faster the team can react. 

For example, the team’s goal for the 2021 season was to reduce uncertainty during a race by increasing race simulations. Oracle Red Bull Racing migrated their strategy systems from their pre-existing on premise infrastructure solution onto OCI, which helped the team increase the number of Monte Carlo simulations it could run by 25%. Through this, Oracle Red Bull Racing team pushed the boundaries of technology to make them one of the most successful teams in the sport’s recent history.

What are some key decisions that the Red Bull Racing team made that was fuelled by Oracle’s cloud data analytics?

Zoe Chilton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Oracle Red Bull Racing: Due to the improvement in throughput from the Monte Carlo simulations, the strategy team further developed the most competitive race strategy plans possible before the start of each race and made the most advantageous calls during each race.