Thursday, July 14, 2011

Human factors in motor racing

Article in the Washington Post on 13 July 2011

An interesting view of human factors vs technology in Formula 1 and Nascar racing.

It suggests the human factor is being taken out of Formula 1 because so much data is streamed back to technicians in the pits. However, Nascar does not allow this in order to "highlight the human element in racing" and "to make the events more interesting to the consumer."

The implication is that technology means human factors are less relevant in Formula 1 than Nascar. I can see what they are getting at, but not sure I agree with their conclusion. I would suggest that human factors in Nascar is limited to one person (the driver) whereas in Formula 1 it is far more of a team effort, which means different and more complex human factors are involved.

Apparently Williams F1 has worked with AT&T to increase the speed at which data gets transmitted, which is now 25 times faster than a standard broadband setup. "The technology has helped cut down on the number of support staff traveling with F1 teams, as well as the cost."

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