When the streets of Singapore come alive with Formula One action this weekend, it may be easy to forget how much technology is involved to enable the cars to whiz through the track at breakneck speeds.
Perhaps the most noticeable equipment will be the lights lining the track. Designed by Italian lighting contractor Valerio Maioli, the Philips-made system will involve some 1,500 lighting projectors around the track, lighting it to the level of 3,000 lux--nearly four times brighter than that of a typical sports stadium.
Provisions have been made for wet weather in the tropical city: the projectors will beam light on the track at different angles, rather than vertically, to minimize glare off the road surface, should it rain.
The power requirements of these lights are correspondingly stringent. While many of the teams will plug their back-end IT systems into the country's power grid, Valerio Maioli has fitted 12 twin-power generators to power the lights. These 24 generators are also fail-resistant--the second generator will pick up the load, should the first one fail, to keep the light levels consistent.
But environmentalists should rest easy, a Philips representative told ZDNet Asia. The lighting system is 16 percent more energy-efficient, compared to competitors' products, the representative said.
Another noticeable addition to the track from Valerio Maioli will be digital flags--electronic light displays that will replace the traditional colored flags used in day races, for better visibility at night. These 35 panels will communicate vital information to drivers.
Supercomputing in Formula One Behind the scenes is where you will find the heavy-duty computing power. Alex Burns, chief operating officer of the Williams F1 team, described to ZDNet Asia in an interview the magnitude of the systems involved, both leading up to the event and during the actual race.
Burns said the team takes 35 Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to the circuit, to be used by race engineers. In the garage by the pit stop, there are another eight racks of servers: two for the data coming off each of the two cars, and another two for each car's engines, he said. … Read more