Mercedes F1 accelerates AI adoption in off-track IT transformation project

Mercedes F1 car pictured on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 24, 2023 in Abu Dhabi
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mercedes F1 has announced a new partnership with SAP in a bid to overhaul its IT operations and expand the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline resource planning. 

The partnership will give the racing team access to SAP’s business artificial intelligence (AI) technology, providing capabilities for forecasting costs, predicting budget requirements, and optimizing the team’s supply chain. 

Mercedes will also be able to take advantage of SAP’s secure S/4HANA cloud environment that will underpin the team’s digital functions and allow for easy and reliable scalability over time.

A crucial foundation for success in modern F1 involves navigating the competition’s cost cap, Mercedes said, which limits how much teams can spend in a single season. Overspending could see teams incur severe financial and competitive penalties.

The collaboration should help Mercedes avoid any difficulty in this regard, enabling the team to deliver accurate cost forecasts and budget optimization. 

Mercedes’ CEO and team principal Toto Wolff expressed his optimism about boosting the team’s efficiencies with the collaboration. 

“We have a shared heritage and commitment to innovation and improvement, which will meaningfully contribute to our on-track performance. SAP is a global leader in its field, and we could not think of a better partner to help us improve our efficiencies in 2024 and beyond.”

Cloud advantages on and off the raceway

Formula One is among the most data-intensive sports on earth, with teams leveraging a range of technologies to unlock performance insights. 

Julia White, executive board member at SAP SE, said the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence can make the difference between success and failure.

“Formula One is one of the most technologically innovative sports in the world, where incremental gains yield significant results. Given the extreme conditions under which Formula One teams operate, motorsports provide a global platform to showcase skill and engineering excellence,” she said.

“But beyond the race day performance, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. SAP is proud to partner with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team to make sure its operations are as fine-tuned as its cars.”

As White noted, Formula One is uniquely placed to derive significant benefits from cloud technologies both behind the scenes, and in its on-track performance as well. 


Managing Data for AI and Analytics at Scale with an Open Data Lakehouse Approach: IBM whitpaper

(Image credit: IBM)

Monitor AI activities and generate positive outcomes 


With around 100 sensors on each car, and approximately 1,500 data channels, being able to quickly and securely process, organize, and provide insights on that data is essential.

In addition, the same data processing capabilities are vital for cost effectively refining the cars’ aerodynamic profile.

AWS simulations, for example,have played an important role in helping teams achieve the marginal gains that can decide a race or even a championship. 

Enabling teams to model a car’s aerodynamic performance without having to carry out prohibitively expensive and carbon-intensive physical tests is invaluable. 

But ensuring the simulations match the accuracy of the physical tests requires significant compute capacity and AWS’ collaboration with F1 allows for teams to easily scale their computational tasks.

Mercedes will hope its partnership with SAP provides similar cost-saving and performance benefits on the business side of its operations.

Solomon Klappholz
Staff Writer

Solomon Klappholz is a Staff Writer at ITPro. He has experience writing about the technologies that facilitate industrial manufacturing which led to him developing a particular interest in IT regulation, industrial infrastructure applications, and machine learning.