Racing ahead with AT&T
By Matt Cadieux, CIO, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Formula One is one of the world’s most technologically advanced sports. The season includes 21 races over 9 months across 5 continents. The event reaches an audience of over 600 million viewers in more than 180 countries every year.
The F1 season is a few pressure-filled months, peaking during race weekends where something as insignificant as a split-second delay could make a difference between first or second place. We are ultimately in the business of winning races, which is why taking away the burden of technology issues is extremely important.
AT&T helps relieve this pressure for us.
As an Innovation Partner, AT&T brings new technology ideas to the table. They range from helping us to achieve operational efficiencies, expanding our collaboration capabilities and helping to improve our network security. In fact, we have a close working relationship with the AT&T Foundry, a network of innovation centers. It’s where AT&T works with companies to move ideas to market fast, exploring innovative solutions for business challenges. This year, we’re working with the AT&T Foundry in Israel to explore cybersecurity solutions.
Preempting unusual network behavior
As a result, we have recently started trialing Preempt, a threat prevention solution. Preempt understands normal user behavior and spots threats based on identity, behavior and risk. If it detects suspicious activity, it challenges the user.
Crucially, it does so in a virtually frictionless way. This makes for a near effortless user experience coupled with cutting-edge security. Depending on the severity of the threat vector, it can also respond to and mitigate risks. This system works in parallel with our existing AT&T security services, such as AT&T Threat. We have the reassurance that we can access and share our sensitive data in a highly secure environment.
Another idea we are also excited to learn about is using technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT). We have been gathering data from our cars for years. Now, we’re looking at other areas of our business that could benefit from data gathering and analytics.
Why real-time data and a global network matters
We have worked with AT&T since 2011. In this time, AT&T has transformed the way we communicate with one another. This has allowed our race and factory teams to work together in the Grand Prix places where we race around the world, quickly and safely. Network speed is vital and virtually real-time data transported over AT&T’s VPN helps give us a competitive edge. It’s an integral part of how Aston Martin Red Bull Racing operates as a company and a race team.
The team faces the ongoing challenge every Grand Prix weekend of having to build the race car from scratch. And within a very limited timeframe. It’s an intense and time-consuming job for our track team with 7,500 unique designs and around 100,000 individual components in an F1 car. The pressure is on every race weekend; especially when some races are only one week and thousands of miles apart.
Race rules allow for only 60 of our 800-strong team to attend trackside over the course of a Grand Prix weekend. The rest of the team stays behind, with our core team at the AT&T Operations room at our HQ in Milton Keynes, in the U.K.
Grand Prix locations are in Asia, Russia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. But despite the vast distance between them, the AT&T global network brings the Team back together. It’s as if our engineers and technicians are in the same room, rather than 100s and 1000s of miles apart.
AT&T is helping our teams work together on all aspects of development, manufacturing, testing, and operating a Formula One car. This collaboration and multi-disciplinary approach wouldn’t be possible without their super-fast, reliable global network. And crucially, free from concerns about network technology delays or the security issues when sending sensitive data from one global location to another.
We look forward to continuing to explore ways to enhance our work with AT&T and seeing what’s to come. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the race in Sao Paulo this Sunday!
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Matt has over 25 years of IT experience in engineering and manufacturing environments, working for both large global and medium sized companies. He oversees the IT department that is responsible for implementing and supporting the applications and infrastructure used to design, make and race F1 cars. The Chief Security Office (CSO) and Head of Technical Partnerships also report into Matt.
Speed, technical innovation and the ability to execute are required to be successful in F1 and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing excels in these areas. Digital solutions are pervasive and enable aggressive car development, efficient workflows, collaboration and real-time data driven decision making at race tracks that are located around the world. These highly capable IT solutions improve business and track performance.
Matt graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S in Chemical Engineering before undertaking a System Design and Management graduate programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to starting at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Matt worked at the Ford Motor Company (US) and Jaguar Land Rover (UK) as a senior manager with roles that spanned the IT lifecycle.