Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Renault Race Control // Live timing, circuit data and driver information as F1 sessions unfold

Published by Mr. C

During yesterday's Free Practice live commenting session, discussion turned to McLaren's new telemetry widget. A tool that is at best underwhelming and at worst, broken. It didn't appear to be working at all when we tried it, and had it been, the information conveyed doesn't appear to be that insightful.

By comparison, Renault's live Race Control console is leaps and bounds ahead of the things McLaren are attempting, and has been for over two years.

We've covered Race Control several times around here in the past, but it might be worth a quick refresher for anyone who hasn't discovered the beauty of live data, pushed direct from the garages of an F1 team during each and every session.

Renault live map

I think I've had Renault's live timing page open during every session of the 2009 season. It offers a fantastic array of otherwise impossible to come by data on what's happening at Renault during the course of the weekend. Each race has a dedicated page providing track maps, up-to-date weather information and pre-race statistics such as fuel consumption per lap, and throttle usage.

After each session, detailed results are provided. More detailed in fact than the official FOM data, including the maximum speed of every driver and their ideal fastest lap. The results are interactive, you can drill down for a limited amount of additional information, although the emphasis remains on the red / yellow / blue / white / orange team.

Renault results

That's all well and good, but the site really comes to life when there's action to be found on track. The circuit map lights up whenever Alonso (or the other guy) takes to the asphalt, showing both car's track position. In some ways this content has been superseded by the official F1 iPhone application which positions all cars, but Renault were doing this first and their cars appear to move at a more consistent pace.

Elsewhere within the console, super-detailed stats are available for both drivers - including gear selection, speed, steering angle, braking and g-forces the drivers are being subjected to at the time. Again this information is interactive and you can pick the relevant pieces you're interested in. I wouldn't mind the ability to overlay more than two series for comparison, but it's still considerably more insight than any other team are willing to provide right now.

Renault live timing data

Finally, the consoles provide lap-by-lap timing figures which can be cross-referenced each time a car crosses the timing beam. If you need to know who's on a long run and how each lap compares, the detail is fantastic.

We've long been asking for both FOM and other teams to follow Renault's lead, to no avail. We should therefore congratulate McLaren for at least giving it some thought. Calling out to Bernie, of course, is a complete waste of effort and bandwidth.

I love that Renault take the effort to provide this content, and I wouldn't be without it any more. If you've not tried it before, please do take a look this weekend, it's free so what have you got to lose? Let us know what you think if it's your first time, similarly if you're as addicted as I am let us know your favourite bits.

Hats off to Renault F1 for showing Bernie how it's done these past 30 months.