Behind the thrill of the F1 racetrack, a range of high-end networking and communications technology helps make the high-octane sport a reality. Richard Serschen, manager motorsport solutions, Riedel Communications, gives a glimpse.
CommsMEA: Where is the fibre backbone deployed at the venue?
The fibre backbone is deployed in the pitwall which is the area where all of the crucial pit-stop activities take place. The fibre network also runs through the teams’ garages, allowing vital data to be relayed from the pits to the engineers in the garages. It also connects to the race control tower and the TV compound. The length of a circuit means there will be around 12-18 km of fibre which will be installed the week before the race and will be de-installed after the race with a dedicated crew of Riedel employees.
CommsMEA: Where is the fibre sourced from?
We bring our own fibre infrastructure which is produced at our HQ in Germany. The fibre backbone is laid down and put in place by ourselves.
CommsMEA: Why does Riedel Networks connect all F1 tracks to its main hub in Frankfurt?
From the main hub data is rerouted to the locations required by the race teams. This is vital, as the majority of F1 teams’ support staff work off-site. The network ensures that each of the F1 teams gets access to all of the data, in real-time, that they need. The fibre backbone is also used for voice, data and video for staff within the venue. Riedel uses the network to provide wired and wireless communication with its Artist system, which is available in three different node sizes – 32, 64 and 128 ports. All this is available at the track. It just depends what the customer wants. There’s a couple of nodes with each team for different types of connections - for example for the pitwall, garage and hospitality areas.
CommsMEA: Could you brief about Riedel’s digital communication system at the venue?
Riedel’s digital radio communication system used at the track is based on tetra technology and it provides more than 1500 radios for each race weekend to almost everyone involved in the organisation of the event. Riedel’s intercom system also enables people working at the F1 teams’ HQs and factories to have direct communication and data transfer with their team mates at the track. Riedel also has a video solution in place at the track. These cameras are for the use of the race teams, mainly at the pit stops and in the garages, and also on the track for monitoring and judging purposes.
Riedel installs cameras inside the pit lane and on the pit boxes so the team can see when a car is coming in for a pit stop. It also installs overhead cameras to capture the team performing the pit stop. This allows each team to gain a better understanding of where improvements can be made and mistakes avoided. We also have camera in the garages above the cars because when the cars are parked after qualifying, for a certain time, nobody is allowed to touch a car. It will be covered and sealed and that will be recorded into a video system which is used for judging.