When a Lotus F1 car won the Australian Grand Prix last week a whole bunch of Microsoft Dynamics employees were more excited than the ice cool Finn who won the race. If you looked really carefully at the winning Lotus you just might have noticed the words “Microsoft Dynamics” along the flanks of the car behind the driver’s head.

What is Microsoft doing with ads on a Formula 1 car? Well, F1 is big business; it develops and uses advanced technology. Competition breeds innovation. Jet powered planes, radar and early computers were all fast tracked under the competition of war. But war is a bloody competition; extreme, peaceful competitions like F1 provide an acceptable alternative to stimulate innovation as teams try to outperform each other.

F1 teams need good systems and Lotus has partnered with Microsoft to use one of its Dynamics solutions. Microsoft undertook to replace the myriad of in-house developed and proprietary systems at Lotus with a single Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

F1 race cars are high speed data collection units; they measure everything from temperatures and tyre pressure, to G-forces, and component movements. Fifteen megabytes of data is sent to the team pit via microwave links during a lap while fifty gigabytes of data is collected over a whole race.

Francois Puentes of Lotus said: “At an advanced level, ERP should enable the Lotus F1 team to run more efficiently as a whole. It will allow us to bring performance-increasing parts to the car more quickly and more effectively than the opposition [and that] equals race wins.”

Microsoft has five full-time staff at the Lotus factory in Enstone, England who are probably rejoicing the success of their high profile customer and partner.

Read more about Lotus and Microsoft

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Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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