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Next race: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang

Mercedes GP offer live telemetry direct from the circuit // More information fresh from the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend

Published by Mr. C

The first race of the F1 season brought with it plenty of surprises, but none was more welcome than the addition of live telemetry to the Mercedes GP website. The team are the second to provide such a service after McLaren introduced a live system last year.

Live data from Albert Park
Live data from Albert ParkCredit: Mercedes GP

Although hidden during non-event times, the live telemetry dominates the upper half of the website as soon as either a qualifying session or race gets underway. The head-up display offers a completely unique means of following live action and is a delight to look at. The layout doesn't take up a great deal of screen space and is easily as good as anything offered by other forms of motor sport.

Users are treated to a circuit map detailing the position of each car at any given time plus relevant circuit data. In terms of driver data, you are provided with an explosion of information, including:

  • Gear selection
  • Engine RPM
  • Car speed
  • Steering direction
  • Throttle and brake application
  • G-force load

In the centre of the display, there are read-outs for lap count and distance travelled, as well as current, last and best lap times for easy reference. You of course get all of this for both drivers and the data is updated in real-time. Even when cars are stationary, the steering direction updates.

Left of the middle

Whilst getting settled into his car on the grid before the race, I could see Michael Schumacher adjusting his steering wheel. The data really puts fans right at the heart of any action and makes it extremely easy to compare drivers as they circulate the track.

The late site's introduction did highlight a few flaws. There is no live data for any practice session, and as these are normally the best time to fully appreciate the nuances of live data, that seems like some thing of an omission. Also on Sunday, just as I began to really enjoy looking at the animated information, the whole thing vanished from the site and hasn't been seen from since.

One cannot complain too much however, as McLaren's system, now in its second year, refused to show any statistics for the whole weekend.

We have been calling for teams to put more information into the arms of fans as far back as 2007 and it's good to see more than one team step up and do that. I think there's value in offering replays of sessions once the cars have stopped rolling and I wouldn't mind a system that works on devices devoid of Adobe Flash, but those are minor requests against what is otherwise a fantastic addition to the season.

Be sure to have a look at the Mercedes live telemetry during qualifying in Malaysia.

Updated: Mercedes GP kindly came back to us in response to this post. They pointed out that the reason the telemetry vanished mid-race was that both drivers were knocked out early. As soon as both cars stop sending live data the system switches off. In hindsight this makes complete sense.

The team are also aware of the limitations of using Adobe Flash and are working on it. Keep a close eye on this new innovation from Mercedes, it sounds like there's even more to come.