Caterham Formula 1 Team Works With Dell for Supercomputing

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In the fast-paced world of Formula One, technology is king. Designing, optimizing and racing the world’s fastest sports cars requires specialized equipment, including the best supercomputing power your budget can buy. Teams need  the basics required to run any business, as well as powerful workstations and track-side equipment they can lug around the world. Smaller competitors such as Caterham F1 need to think more creatively.

Caterham F1 IT manager Bill Peters, who had previously worked for  F1 giant McLaren, choose Dell after a “quick and dirty” procurement process in 2009. The relationship has continued, with Dell earning “supplier of the year” in this year’s Computer Weekly European Datacentre Awards for its ongoing work with the team.

Initially, we needed the factory environment – all the business tools like email, collaboration, intranet, etc – plus high-powered workstations for the car designers and associated systems such as storage,” says Peters. “We also needed a miniaturised version of the environment to take trackside. Lastly, we needed supercomputers for the factory, where we use computational fluid dynamics to simulate a wind tunnel,” says Peters.

Working closely with Caterham, Dell designed and deployed everything needed to get the team up and running, including an HPC cluster consisting of 186 Dell PowerEdge M610 blade servers with Intel Xeon processors. With this, the team can perform 163,398 calculations per second and process 20GB of data on a race weekend.

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