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Friday, July 11
Designing to New Depths

The role of technology in sport is undeniably paramount at the higher echelons of competition and HP has been quick to enforce their position as a leading technology provider in two of the world's most technologically advanced sporting arenas.

Over the last few years HP has developed a critical role as an integral part of both the BMW WilliamsF1 and Oracle BMW Racing operations.Working in the labs of two of the world's most extreme sports, HP has propelled the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Oracle BMW Racing into new depths of design engineering and communication.

In Formula One and America's Cup Yacht Racing alike, technology has become mission critical – from planning and development in the lead up to performance management before, during and after a race.

From airflow and wave dynamics…

Planning and development requires detailed analysis of the way the design of the car or yacht carves through the air or water. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used to simulate the car or yacht's aerodynamics from all angles, enabling engineers to visualise and understand how various designs will perform from an aerodynamic perspective.

By running the Fluent CFD application on the high-performing HP AlphaServer™ supercomputing platform, The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has been able to conduct aerodynamic tests in a matter of hours rather than weeks and reduce car design time by a record 15 times.

For the 2003 season the performance of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team HP supercomputer, housed at WilliamsF1's headquarters in Grove, England, was enhanced by doubling the performance of its components. This additional capacity enables engineers to obtain a comprehensive 360 degree analysis of the 3,000+ parts of the F1 car.

Patrick Head, technical director of WilliamsF1 commented, "The WilliamsF1 Team needs very large computing powers, very large processing capacity and huge memory capacity in order to examine full car models within a critical timeframe. With HP technology we have been able to exceed expectations."

Oracle BMW Racing have had in some respects an even more demanding task as they need to research and improve not only the yacht's aerodynamics (above the water), but also the hydrodynamics (in the water).

The capability afforded by HP systems mean that more complex computational codes can be used, resulting in greater simulation of variations and conditions, such as design demands for sailing up or against the wind, different wind strengths and wave heights. The end result is the ability to draw quick, well-informed decisions about the potential of the yacht design, without the expense and time involved in tank testing.

"CFD and supercomputing have totally transformed yacht design," explained Bruce Farr, President and Founder of Farr Yacht Design, designer for Oracle BMW Racing and many of the world's fastest yachts. "We've moved from a drawn-out exercise of trial and error, to a sophisticated process that adds to and accelerates every facet of design."

…To data flow on race day

The lead up to a Grand Prix race is characterised by tension, last minute changes and fine tuning of the car. This operation takes place in the garages, where engineers work to encapsulate all technical knowledge of the car in their notebooks. The data capture and subsequent analysis is made quicker through the use of a wireless LAN.

The potential of the Wireless connection could enable the engineers to roam freely round the garage with access to networked data and backup support. They could take their Evo notebooks to the car and view relevant information on the screen while making adjustments and notes. Combine this with the comprehensive data handling afforded through telemetry analysis on HP ProLiant servers, the team are in constant touch with the performance of the car.

During races Oracle BMW Racing is also heavily reliant on the use of wireless technology to give the crew data updates from information generated on the yacht, for example the speed of the boat, the wind direction and strength.

Support boats on the water can receive information to and from the main yacht while the race is in progress for post-race performance analysis. The team also uses highly sophisticated weather forecasting systems that will enable the team to predict race conditions.

With the help of HP technology and solutions, Formula One car designers can work towards creating the optimum downforce that will increase the grip of the car on the road, whilst yacht designers set to work against drag components above and under the water. With every development these teams are pushing the boundaries and creating ever faster and more streamlined vehicles.

"HP's goal is to help the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Oracle BMW Racing create the optimum technical vehicle to get the optimum performance," explained Andrew Collis, Director, Corporate Sponsorships & Global F1 at HP. "With our leading-edge technology we have provided the solutions and services that help push design and therefore racing to the limits."

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Related Sites: hp.com/f1 | BMW.WilliamsF1.com | rpm.espn.com
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