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A Winning Formula In A Rapidly Changing World: An Interview with Lotus F1 Team

Created: 22 Jan 2014 • Updated: 22 Jan 2014
Symantec Analyst Relations's picture
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As fans of Formula 1 eagerly await the new season, big changes are coming that will have a major impact on the sport. It’s something that Lotus F1 Team readily acknowledges will be a huge challenge. But they will be ready to take on whatever comes their way, they insist, just as their long-term partner Symantec is also embracing transformation throughout its business.

In fact, Lotus F1 Team sees itself and Symantec as being on something of a parallel journey, as they manage their rapidly altering business landscapes – very different, it might seem, yet driven by a common purpose: to be the best at what they do.

It is Symantec’s ability to achieve that goal, time and again, that has made Lotus F1 Team such a committed consumer and champion of its solutions. But first, back to those big changes in Formula 1. “For next season, the amount of fuel that can be used in a race is limited to 100kg, so none of the cars will have enough to finish the race,” Michael Taylor  IT/IS Director explains. Also, the 2.4 litre V8 engine configuration used between 2006 and 2013 will be replaced with a new formula, specifying a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine that incorporates an energy recovery system into its build. “The teams will have to use their energy recovery systems [ERS] to get them round. All we have learned in the last five to six seasons is going to be largely irrelevant.” Survival will be about being the fittest, not least when it comes to the technology that is employed – which is where, for Lotus F1 Team, Symantec scores so highly.

But it isn’t just his team that says so. Research conducted by The Alchemy Solutions Group found that Lotus F1 Team achieved substantial business value when deploying archiving, high availability, data and messaging security, and IT compliance solutions from Symantec. The aggregate value added up to more than $2.6 million in cost savings associated with IT operational efficiencies, productivity gains and green energy. Moreover, cost savings were attained in the areas of tape media associated with backup and recovery, and email storage space.

Taylor sets great value on how Symantec’s technology helps Lotus F1 Team not only stay secure wherever it accesses data on the world circuit – café, plane, hotel etc. – but also to inform the decisions at the trackside that can mean ensuring a podium place... or not. “We are dealing with data that is highly complex, from multiple sources, all in real time, and for two cars.” It has made him all the more determined to strengthen the bond with Symantec technology to ensure that all of the data required is always with the people who need it, when they need it. “The team that does best in analytics next year will do best overall. That is certain,” he says. Performance of the data will be a key factor in deciding the performance of the cars.

Never has data needed to be more preciously guarded either. “We need to know that our data is secure at all times, travelling as we do to maybe 20 countries around the world, often remote areas, with our people taking a subset of the data with them. We have to protect that data and our devices.” And not only while on the F1 global circuit. “How do we make sure that the trusted insiders within our organisation don’t take that data with them when they go to another team at the end of a season? That’s where Symantec comes in. The solutions we use give us those levels of protection and assurance.”

That protection of its intellectual property (IP) through Symantec’s technology also extends to Lotus F1 Team rivals, too. “In the run-up to the start of a new season especially, we need to make sure none of our competitors knows what we are doing, because that is when we are putting together the final design for next year’s car. Our relationship with Symantec is all about availability and security – and what is going to help us win races. On that basis, Symantec is critical to our business.”