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Special Six Five F1 US Grand Prix Edition: McLaren & Red Bull Racing Leveraging Splunk & Oracle Technologies
by Daniel Newman | October 27, 2021

On this special episode of The Six Five, Patrick Moorhead and I cover the F1 US Grand Prix and technology focusing on how McLaren and Red Bull Racing teams are leveraging Splunk and Oracle for top speeds.

Special Six Five F1 US Grand Prix Edition

Our conversation also revolved around the following:

  • The McLaren and Splunk partnership
  • How Oracle and Red Bull are gearing up to change the race

If you’d like to learn more about how tech companies are partnering with F1 racing teams, listen to the full episode below. While you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe to The Six Five podcast so you never miss an episode.

Watch our conversation here:

Listen on your favorite streaming platform here:

Disclaimer: The Six Five Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

Transcript:

Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorhead with Moor Insights & Strategy, and we are here for a special Six Five Insider Edition, and we are talking F1 US Grand Prix and tech. I am here with my incredible, articulate, intelligent, good-looking co-host, Daniel Newman, co-founder, Grand Poobah at Futurum Research. How are you, Daniel?

Daniel Newman: Hey, no worries. I’m doing really well, Pat, and thanks for all those kind words. The only one I really cared about was good looking or whatever you said, but I’ll take intelligent too. But yeah, super exciting. Is it Monday? No, it’s Tuesday. It’s Tuesday, Pat. It’s Tuesday and I’m still coming off the high that is the US Grand Prix, watching cars go really fast and making beautiful sounds, at least if you’re a gearhead, like I am.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy a straight six can do this. I think the twin turbos and 10,000 RPMs help. It’s funny, you’re a heavy-duty soccer fan. I would say I’m probably a heavy-duty NFL fan, but I think we can all meet here on F1. And the cool part is that there’s a lot of technology that’s involved, and the great part is that that means we get invited to events. I’d like to thank Splunk and Oracle for inviting Daniel and I to the grand event. But hey, we were not there just to watch the fast cars go by and watch my team, Red Bull, win, but we were also there to have some great conversation.

So why don’t we start with McLaren and Splunk? We started our F1 experience talking to the head of IT for team McLaren, sitting there, drinking coffee before we got on the bus, Daniel, and we got some pretty big insights. But there were some special things regarding F1 GP and Splunk and McLaren as well. But before we dive in, I am going to have to put this up here. So Daniel, that is you and I getting on the McLaren Splunk bus. Why Splunk is backwards, I have no idea. This is the magic of Google Photos. But this was us roughing it on the bus for the two-hour trip in there. But anyways, I’m going to yapping. Let’s talk tech.

Daniel Newman: Absolutely, Pat, and just real quick, because I know this is one of our special editions, but I do want to remind everybody, this show is for information and entertainment. Don’t take anything we say as stock advice. This is not a financial advice. This is us talking tech. This is us talking about some publicly-traded companies that are doing super cool things in F1. And Pat, we looked really genuinely happy there. Now, I do have to frame that. This had nothing to do with any of the awesome sponsors and partners like Oracle and Splunk that got us to COTA, but there was a long, difficult drive in. I think the logistics, I think, somehow, after a year off and after just having such a large event, I think this was the largest Grand Prix event ever for F1. I think I was reading that.

Patrick Moorhead: 400,000 attendees.

Daniel Newman: 400,000 attendees. They were struggling with some of the ins and outs, and the road into COTA is not necessarily conducive of this kind of traffic. If you think about this, this is about eight times an average NFL game attendance, all coming in and converging on this location. So there’s an opportunity for some technology, maybe a little quantum there for some city planning. Just throwing that out there, everybody, in case you are listening to this show. But yeah, Pat, we had the chance. We went over to the Proper Hotel, one of our favorite spots here, place that you, if you’re ever in Austin, might catch Pat and I on a Friday afternoon, tying off the week. But we went over there, had a chance to meet with the team at McLaren, and this was a really good conversation.

Now, we’ve worked with Splunk for a long time and we’ve been tracking their Data to Everything platform. We’re talking about a company that’s all about observability, about intelligence and being able to basically take all the data at your disposal and do more with it. So Splunk, as a whole, it’s a very logical partnership for the company, and they began this partnership actually only about 18 months ago. And the idea was to get behind and utilizing their technology and data to help drive more performance from the F1 team. And so, Splunk, for those less familiar, and I talk about them from time to time, but they do work intimately with, I believe it’s 92 out of a hundred of the Fortune 100 companies. So despite the fact that Splunk has not become a household name yet, it is rapidly growing in all that it does.

But let’s talk about Formula 1 and where it fits in. So interestingly enough, the McLaren vehicle, and basically, all the F1 vehicles and driver dependent can go about 300 kilometers per hour. That’s 185 miles an hour, is what they’re averaging. They can go faster than that, but that’s what they race at. And the McLaren vehicle is the MCL35M. This thing creates a terabyte and a half of data in just a matter of hours, so that basically means all this data is being used by what McLaren calls their Technology Centre Mission Control, that’s back in the UK.

So they have the little booth of technology, people, that you’ll see if you actually watch the track. You see the little booth and all the screens and laptops, and then inside of the pit, but then there’s another 30 engineers at Mission Control. And this data has to get from the vehicle to the compute, over the cloud or over the infrastructure, get all the way back to the UK. It needs to be processed. And they’re doing things, Pat, like deciding which set of tires to use throughout the race.

And by the way, Lewis Hamilton losing by a fraction could have come down to a data-driven decision about when he pit and which tires to put on for that last set of laps that he did, right, because he got caught in the pit that last time and never was able to catch up. These are those tiny little microcosms of data that these folks at Mission Control are looking at, and so, these cars now, F1… By the way, these things are so light that a team of about six to eight literally lift these things off the ground and turn them. It was amazing to watch. We’ve got some video. We’ll probably put it in this show notes.

But essentially, 300 sensors off these vehicles, and so you have a combination of sensors, data, you got prime infrastructure, cloud infrastructure, you got Mission Control. On location, you’ve got real-time data, low latency, and you’ve got, basically, decisions that a single, tiny fractional decision, like which tire to put on during a pit change, could be the difference between someone finishing in first and someone finishing in second. And this week, at this amazing race, that was proven to be true.

Now, McLaren didn’t make it into the top three because I believe it was the two Red Bulls and then Hamilton, right, in the middle of the pack, Pat? But it was really great to get to know the team. This is a team that’s made a ton of progress in the hosting, and the whole experience in the Paddocks with the McLaren team was great, Pat. So a lot of really interesting stuff going on here. And by the way, Lando, one of their young drivers, very well known in the circuit, Pat, known as an eSports guy too, so he’s actually not only taking this data off the track, he’s actually taking the eSIM as, really, a training methodology, which is pretty cool, as I heard about it.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, it’s interesting. Splunk is doing some interesting data stuff, even with the video game side. It’s interesting. I’ll admit, 15 years ago, I, wasn’t a huge fan of F1, even though my team had to manage the Ferrari sponsorship at AMD. And by the way, I’m a total F1 nut right now, but if there’s one thing that I learned, is that these companies, this is not… None of these are just marketing engagements. So a couple of facts that should bring that home, so first and foremost, each team has a fixed operating budget, okay, and if your tech burns up or you burn up an engine, you essentially get docked, so if you get the wrong technology, you actually have to go back and maybe dip into your engine budget to get the right tech.

So that’s true for Splunk and that’s true for Red Bull and Oracle. My team, Red Bull, did win. Max Verstappen won. It was a total nail biter because Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was at the helm. But Oracle and team Red Bull, from a data perspective, do things actually quite similarly when it comes to the data and the database. But I think the big new thing that hit at the US Grand Prix was essentially this new application called the Red Bull Racing Paddock. And there are fans that are crazy. I would say probably soccer fans are the craziest/football, if you’re outside of the United States. They have allegiances, they’ve got flags, they’re throwing bottles sometimes, waving flags. It’s crazy. If you’ve never been to a pro soccer game in Europe, you have to do it to experience it.

And I would say a little bit toned-down version are F1 folks. They’re popping off smoke that’s out there, maybe a little bit better behaved than NASCAR, I don’t know, but just absolute nuts. And essentially, this Red Bull Racing Paddock application is a loyalty program that dishes up personalized content to the fans and specifically uses Oracle CrowdTwist Loyalty and Engagement. So think about the connection between an Oracle and a Red Bull. You just don’t make this connection. And it’s a five year deal, so of course, you would expect it, but imagine the pain after five years if it’s not connected. So Oracle, Red Bull, has to make the right decision on the platform, let’s say, versus a sales force or something like that.

But essentially, there’s also gamification, right? The more content you create, the more games you take. The more games you play, the more points you get, and you can redeem all that for merch, okay, digital, autographed items, and even some potential VIP experiences, which, Daniel, I think you and I both learned, it is a lot more fun to go VIP. But I sat in the grandstands for a while with my son, and it was enjoyable as well. So technology and F1 have a symbiotic relationship. I mean, Daniel, what do you think there is, 25 tech brands?

Daniel Newman: We walked around and just like, “Hey, there’s Citrix, hey, there’s HPE, hey, there’s Cisco, hey, there’s Dell Technologies.” I mean, it’s funny because I said, “I guess NASCAR gets consumer packaged goods, F1 gets tech companies,” and then you talked about soccer, or as the worldwides would call it, football. They seem to get a little bit of both. They get the airlines and the tech companies, but they also get some of the consumers and gambling brands.

And Pat, I do want to just layer in there, you did make some really great points. Oracle and their OCI had been very on top of using the infrastructure to enable advanced data analytics in the vehicle. But I like the fact that you brought up the Red Bull-Honda partnership with Oracle and the customer engagement because I actually wrote about this, Pat, earlier in the year. The company is using the Oracle customer experience portfolio, including Unity, the CDP, including CrowdTwist for Loyalty and Engagement, including responses for their campaign management. And what they’ve basically been trying to do is create this greater access, Pat. As we talk about running to the metaverse, right, the first thing we need to do is just create ubiquitous access to experiences through our applications, and so these tools in real time are giving users the opportunity to become closer and more passionate about their sport.

Patrick Moorhead: Great stuff, Daniel. I’m glad you layered in the OCI piece. And actually, I did go to an event on Wednesday at Oracle headquarters, where they talked about OCI, and it’s a huge thing, and it’s more than fun and games. Bringing your best customers to an event is awesome, and it’s even better when you bring your top analysts out to the track. But anyways, really appreciated a great learning experience and looking forward to it next year.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, buddy. We’ve got to make it back, whether it’s with our partners or on our own accord. The Six Five racing team, and that’s a true false of whether that’s going to be a real thing-

Patrick Moorhead: You heard it here first. Is it-

Daniel Newman: We-

Patrick Moorhead: … real, is it not?

Daniel Newman: We are going to be at COTA a little more than ever before and possibly testing out just how much data and analytics can drive better driving. So as a couple of passionate racers, Pat, it’s not just about watching. Sometimes it’s about participating. But what a time, what a weekend, buddy. And by the way, when you told me this was one of the reasons to come live in Austin, you weren’t kidding. But I’m telling you, next year, we need any of our partner, client [inaudible] relationships, helicopter. Need a helicopter to get me in there because that two-hour drive from 15 minutes away was probably the only downside from the whole weekend.

Patrick Moorhead: There we go, there we go. You heard it here first. Six Five racing, is it real? Is it not? Is it fiction? Is it fact? I don’t know, but it sure is fun to talk about, Daniel, and it would sure be fun to take on that COTA track. I love the curves, I love the hills. It looks like so much fun. I just got to make sure we don’t kill ourselves because that would be really bad. That would be a bad way to end this Six Five Podcast.

But for everybody who’s tuning in for this quick hit here, 15 minutes, I just want to thank you for tuning in. And you know where to send the compliments, @PatrickMoorhead, and you know where to send all the divisive comments for improvement. That’s @danielnewmanUV. But we care about you, and we love you, and we will see you at Friday at 8:00 AM Central for our weekly podcast.

Daniel Newman: Hundredth episode, dude, hundredth episode, and it’s going to be an earnings blast.

Patrick Moorhead: It’s going to be huge. And maybe a giveaway, maybe not. I don’t know.

Daniel Newman: Maybe a car. Maybe a Red Bull-Honda race car.

Patrick Moorhead: There we go. Yeah, yeah, it’ll be that big. Anyways, thanks, everybody, for tuning in. Have a great rest of your week.

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio