Handling the vast reams of data generated in Formula 1 is a vital element of any team’s competitiveness, and in the case of Mercedes-AMG, it has a long-standing partnership with Tibco Software, a specialist in enterprise data. The team makes extensive use of the company’s Spotfire system to help with data visualization, but as Formula 1 moves toward new, cost-capped rules from the start of 2021, extracting the maximum performance per dollar spent will become more important than ever. According to Tibco, this is where it’s latest tool, Cost Visualizer will come into play.
The new software should help Mercedes’s team of designers, engineers and budget planners better understand and more precisely predict the costs of manufacturing its vehicles, through the use of a bill of materials and budgeting module.
This, says Tibco, will allow each design engineer to compare CAD work to all known financial data, which can be viewed, scrutinized and evaluated from part manufacturing to vehicle assembly. When pooled into the budgeting tool, the team can predict the cost of individual parts at the design stage and a whole car project.
While even teams such as Mercedes have kept an eye on budgets in the past, resource management was more about working within the bounds of regulation-imposed limitations on tools such as CFD and wind tunnel time. With the cost cap comes an additional element of resource management. Teams cannot be wasting their budget allocation on elements that may not prove decisive and cost will have to play a much greater role in the engineering calculus.
As Toto Wolff, team principal and chief executive officer, Mercedes-AMG, explained, “Using the Cost Visualizer tool gives us an additional edge, offering the team insights into the full costs of building, running and manufacturing our race cars, while ensuring the data entered at source is accurate, giving us a critical advantage.”