The Williams Martini Racing F1 team has signed a multi-year strategic technology partnership with BT across a range of services.
The long-term deal will see Williams use BT’s high-performance network services for secure and high-speed communication and collaboration, as well as cloud-based fixed and mobile voice services.
The team will also use BT’s suite of technologies and consultancy services in its advanced engineering division, which takes F1-derived tech into other verticals, including aerospace, energy and defence.
Having already worked on a pilot scheme towards the end of 2014, Williams said it had already seen the benefits of BT’s network services offering in a number of areas.
These included improved car performance, telemetry, faster pitstop times, improvements to race video analysis and better performing big data compute processes.
Williams principal and founder Frank Williams said the team relies on technology innovation to stay ahead of its competitors and places a premium on strong communication for business success.
“BT excels in these areas and with their products powering our communications and data networks we are well-placed to make important strategic decisions in a faster and more collaborative way.”
Williams CTO Pat Symonds added: “Vastly increased network speed can totally alter the way we work. The benefits for our routine operations are self-evident and witnessed by an enormous increase in our off-site analytical ability.
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“The less obvious benefits include the ability to gain higher speed access to our crucial information sources, independently of where we are racing. This includes, for example, the ability to interrogate remotely our CAD system back at base, build new assemblies and then export the required information for use on the racetrack in a matter of minutes."
BT CEO Gavin Patterson said both BT and Williams have an "illustrious history" of successfully competing with cutting-edge technology.
"This is the beginning of a real partnership with two great British brands determined to win as a team on the world stage,” he said.
Founded in the 1970s, Williams is one of the last and most successful privately owned teams on the F1 grid. Its drivers – including Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill – have won seven F1 Drivers' Championships between them.
However, its most recent champion, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, won his sole Drivers' Championship in 1997, and in recent years the team languished somewhat in the standings. This was until 2014, when its line-up of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas – retained for 2015 – steered it to third place overall in the Constructors' Championship.
As part of the deal, BT branding will appear on the headrests of 2015’s Mercedes-powered FW37 car, as well as being seen in the team hospitality suite and garage.