Thursday, August 22, 2013

Short guide to F1 Telemetry - Spa circuit

Hello, prior to Belguim Gran Prix at Spa circuit, here's a really short intro to F1 telemetry sheets. This is the type of information that is being analyzed by both drivers and race engineers - either prior to the race or after it.
First of all, let's start with the base - the ATLAS. This is the software responsible for the creation of that telemetry print, and the acronym stands for Advanced Telemetry Linked Acquisition System, developed by McLaren Electronic Systems (MES). At the core of the ATLAS software product is SQL Race; an application program interface (API) of Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
Let's first mention that this is the standard FIA approved data acquisition system for all cars on the grid. The software itself is a close resemblance of the idea behind Microsoft Excel - it consists of multiple sheets, consolidated in a  workbook. Each of the sensors on the car collects information and then sends it back to the garage where it is being stored in a database. This software package, ATLAS, is highly customizable in order to accommodate the wide variety of needs of F1 engineers.

For now, I will guide you shortly to the meaning of each of the lines. For easier reading, they are marked with numbers, respectively Line 1, Line 2. and so on.
Every line has its description and metric at either the left or the right side.

Image credit: Caterham F1 Team, Renault. Click for full size
First of all, let's start with the X axis - it represents one lap of the Spa circuit and the unit is meters.

  • Line 1: This red line shows the RPM (Revolutions per minute)
  • Line 2: The blue line is car's speed
  • Line 3: The green one is lateral acceleration
  • Line 4: Purple line is the gear position / changes 
  • Line 5: Orange line is the throttle pedal position
  • Line 6: Brown line is the brake system pressure

It is really as simple as that :) Questions are welcome.