McLaren F1 technology supports GB’s golden summer
It’s been a remarkable summer for British sport and the McLaren Group is proud to have played a part in that achievement.
Great Britain’s record success is a testament not only to the excellence of our athletes, but also to the coaches and sports scientists who enabled them to achieve peak performance when it counted. Formula 1 derived science provided by McLaren Applied Technologies assisted several sports with their preparations for the Games.
When the McLaren name is associated with sports outside Formula 1, many people naturally assume it’s their materials expertise that’s being brought to bear, as with the Specialized S-Works + McLaren Venge, which was ridden to Green Jersey success at the 2011 Tour de France. But as McLaren Applied Technologies’ Programme Director Caroline Hargrove explains, the partnership with UK Sport in cycling, sailing, rowing, canoeing and wheelchair sports focused on expertise in measuring and analysing performance data:
“The human body is a machine and we can monitor its condition in real time, just as we would with a Formula 1 car. Working with our partner Vodafone, that data can be transmitted instantaneously back to coaches, to be interpreted and used to inform decisions about training or strategy.”
The focus has been on working with the coaches and sports scientists to present information in a way that helps them work quickly and efficiently.
“The systems we use at every Formula 1 Grand Prix, where we may have just seconds to make decisions, can shape the outcome of the race. Now we have been able to apply the same expertise to cycling, for example, where the margins of victory can be miniscule.”
“Making the technology easy to use and understand is vital, otherwise the data is almost worthless,” says Hargrove. “Coaches want to make informed decisions, rather than spending hours processing data. They need to see very quickly what is happening, not just in terms of the athletes’ performance but also whether the strategy is working.”
UK Sport Head of Research and Innovation, Dr Scott Drawer, said: “We work with the best of British science and technology to ensure we explore every opportunity to ensure the athletes and sports we fund are given all the support they need to reach their full potential.
“The relationship with McLaren Applied Technologies brings Formula 1 technology and know-how to measuring and analysing performance in these sports and has provided valuable new insights in to both the training and race environments.”
As the focus turns to the future, McLaren Applied Technologies is developing new and more advanced systems for several sports. “We are continuously working on more intelligent uses of data, so athletes can train more effectively,” says Hargrove. “We’re only at the beginning of that process, so there will be many more gains in the future, for sure.”
The technology pioneered for Great Britain’s athletes could also have tremendous benefits for the wellness and healthcare sectors. User-friendly diagnostic systems could, for instance, help with management of long-term illnesses or help doctors prescribe treatments more efficiently.
Another legacy of this summer could benefit the UK as a whole, thanks to a new appreciation of the value of home-grown innovation.
“One thing I hope, is that people begin to see the science and technology behind sporting success.” says Hargrove. “We’re passionate about it, and that’s what motivates us to excel. We’re so proud to have been part of the British success this summer. We’ve been a tiny part of a huge effort, but we still get that buzz.”