Ferrari's latest F1 launch

Written by Wil Harris

January 26, 2006 | 13:17

Tags: #antonio-calabrese #dual-core #formula-1 #opteron #processors

Companies: #amd #ferrari

Ferrari talks IT

We had a chat with a few of the Ferrari guys about the work they've been doing with AMD. First up, we quizzed Michael Schumacher. Ferrari has been able to get its car ready for testing comparatively early compared to previous years. How important has the simulation and telemetry data processing been to you and team?

"Well, obviously telemetry data is very important to us; it is crucial in designing the car," he told us."Our computer systems have been crucial, and we have very good partners in this respect. We have traditionally strong in these areas, perhaps more so than other teams... We hope to repeat this success again this season."

So, a vote of confidence in AMD's IT solutions from the big man himself. Ferrari's test car is ready far earlier this year compared to previous years, meaning they've been able to get more testing done before the season starts on March 12 in Bahrain. They are hoping this will lead to a competitive advantage on the track. Head of Technical at the outfit, Ross Brawn, told us that "We've been able to complete testing and get simulation data earlier than last year, which has helped us get the car ready for testing faster.

How come it's been able to work so much faster? Well, according to Antonio Calabrese, who is in charge of the IT systems at Ferrari, dual core has been a crucial factor. Speaking to bit-tech, he told us:

"If you look at AMD's dual core technology from a user's point of view - to us, it has been a chance to upgrade our systems without any big effort in terms of the systems, tests, so on. It was clear from the first time that this kind of migration was really a serious upgrade in terms of performance, but all we had to do was swap the CPU and upgrade the BIOS. That is what we did. It was a simple and easy enabling of the technology.

"I'm tired of technology which is difficult to integrate. We have to give serious performance to our users, we don't want to struggle with exotic cooling solutions and the like. The transition was really seamless.

"We found that the performance was roughly double for some configurations. That was without any problems of power and cooling. We doubled the performance in the same basic environment. This is really valuable for any IT systems environment."

AMD further added:

"CFD was really easy to implement with new performance [since its already threaded]. They were benchmarking 1.92x real performance increase. Ferrari started testing this in early 2005, they were really the first to get their hands on this technology."

Ferrari's latest F1 launch Ferrari and AMD Ferrari's latest F1 launch Ferrari and AMDAntonio Calabrese, head of IT systems at Ferrari

How does this actually make a difference though - what does that performance increase mean? Calabrese again:

""With CFD, you can either increase the resolution of the data you are capturing, or you can capture the same resolution of data faster. The advantage to AMD is that we are able to provide them with very quick feedback on their technologies."

Ross Brawn was telling us that the car has been out faster this year, and how that's become an advantage.

"I'm glad Ross said that, because he clearly recognises the value of what we do to the team. We've done more, with the support of AMD, in less time."

Will there be any further upgrades to the Ferrari systems - perhaps it will be moving to quad-core processors soon? All we can elicit is a wink and a nod that rather suggests to us that it will be the case.

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