Jenson Button

The McLaren Formula 1 team is using SAP product lifecycle management and business intelligence analytics to help it tune its cars with precision and judge the fastest route round the circuits for this year's F1 championships.

The cars – driven by World Champion Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are fitted with over 200 sensors. On the race track, they feed encrypted data back to SAP Business All-In-One systems at McLaren at a rate of four megabits a second.

Jenson Button and Ross Brawn's lessons for CIOs

Jonathan Neale, managing director at McLaren Racing, told delegates at the SAP World Tour event in Birmingham last week that the team "uses SAP to analyse the data in real time as the guys test out, qualify and race on the circuit".

"The systems are crucial to allowing us to make decisions quickly," he added. McLaren has been using SAP technology for 14 years to track components, which are changed constantly.

Each car is customised to the circuit and the driver, with constant on over 3,000 engine components, as well as on the chassis, the tyres and all other key components. Using the data, McLaren can track the production and state of each part both at its UK technical centre in Woking, Surrey, and on the road.

McLaren also uses advanced IT systems to monitor driver racing lines and analyse the fastest route round each corner. All the data is shared with the drivers and mechanics.