Lessons from Formula 1: How data can drive performance

07 June 2021 Consultancy.eu 3 min. read

International consulting firm Metyis has hosted a knowledge session leveraging insights from the world of Formula 1 racing. During the session, Metyis and guest speakers from the motorsport organisation expanded on how advanced data management can help organisations drive performance improvement.

While many businesses are still weighing up how best to deploy big data to boost their performance, the sporting world has been quick to adopt analytics. This has ranged between everything from top tennis players tapping data experts to gain a competitive edge in their game plan tactics, to Kevin De Bruyne commissioning Analytics FC to assess his influence at Manchester City while negotiating an €80+ million contract extension.

The world of Formula 1 (F1) is no stranger to the importance of data either. The high-octane races are not only won through passion and speed; as the sport’s teams battle to gain the upper-hand for their drivers, the sport has been an enormous factory of innovation, where big data analysis drives thousands of decisions every minute, every lap.

Lessons from Formula 1: How data can drive performance

In this quest for excellence, every car in F1 sends data to its team every second, via more than 300 sensors that are confronted with real-time conditions as well as the prediction of scenarios to see if they match with reality. According to global consultancy Metyis, all this can be transposed into the business world to learn, create and manage the best high performing teams across all industries.

Looking to illustrate this point further, the consulting firm recently hosted a knowledge sharing event, featuring insight from Metyis partners Michael Rendell and Joan Daura, as well as special guest Vicenç Aguilera. The former Chairman of Circuit de Barcelona, F1 Grand Prix host and F1 technical analyst for TV programmes, Aguilera joined the event to help show how a data-fuelled F1 mindset can be used to improve an organisation.

During his presentation at the event, Aguilera addressed how data can drive fact-based information, which in turn can enable a management team to enhance decision making. Meanwhile, data insights can provide valuable insights to improving ways of working including processes and roles & responsibilities, lifting both effectiveness and efficiency.

Giving an example of this, Aguilera noted how data insights and analyses contribute to team logistics, enabling race teams to operate in harmonised unison and manage to change a F1 car’s tire in precisely 1.9 seconds amid the apparent complexity of the task and chaos of a race.

Rendell and Daura then converted insights from Aguilera’s talk into HR terms, highlighting the strong parallels between racing and people-driven environments. According to them, HR departments benefit strongly from how data can be used to optimise performance, render predictive simulations, facilitate the retention of high-performers, and streamline communications between multidisciplinary stakeholders in demanding situations.

During a Q&A session at the end of the event, Aguilera also revealed the ways F1 has evolved in the past two decades, as digital has been integrated across all facets of the work. According to him, as data arrives in teams’ systems in real-time, they can now “take a fast look and understand what is working well and what is not.”

He concluded, “If something goes wrong, you can correct it live during the race, and ensure the mistake is not repeated. Live data flow is the key when you design and simulate. This performance is the base of the full simulation of the race. It works the same way with profit and loss. You have the data available and the algorithm should work for you.”