F1: Abu Dhabi’s G42 deploying AI to find solutions to Mercedes’ challenges

Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal and CEO Toto Wolff was in Abu Dhabi for a quick meeting with G42 CEO Peng Xiao

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal and CEO Toto Wolff (left) with G42 CEO Peng Xia. — Supplied photo
Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal and CEO Toto Wolff (left) with G42 CEO Peng Xia. — Supplied photo

Published: Sat 29 Apr 2023, 11:44 PM

Experts from Abu Dhabi’s G42 are working with team Mercedes to understand their challenges and offer solutions to the eight-time consecutive F1 constructors’ world champions.

This level of cooperation follows the partnership agreement inked earlier this year between G42 – the artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing technology firm, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team. The multi-year deal aims at unleashing the full potential of AI and offers crucial data and insights to Mercedes and drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.


Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal and CEO Toto Wolff was in Abu Dhabi for a quick meeting with G42 CEO Peng Xiao. Meeting a select group of reporters, the duo expressed hope that deploying AI software and solutions into Mercedes team operations will result in positive outcomes.

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Wolff noted that the partnership will accelerate Mercedes’ learning process and performances.

“The organisation is so agile, as a result, will accelerate our learning tremendously.”

Wolff said that there was an instant “chemistry” with Peng during their first meeting, which set the tone for this partnership.

“When Peng and I met for the first time around the race, it felt that this could be a great relationship. The chemistry between two humans actually got the whole wheel running. In Peng, I saw the same ambition, eagerness, and agility, in order to make things happen. And that gave me confidence that the two organisations, with their leaders being within the same mindset, can really do great things,” Wolff said.

Wolff revealed that the partnership has kicked off with a “really good” workshop.

“We have identified work streams that make sense.”

Asked if the insights were useful in the races of this season with Hamilton being on the podium in Australia, Wolff underlined that it’s “early stages” of the partnership.

“At this stage, it’s information exchange. It is probably data collection from Peng’s team to say where are we as a Formula 1 team? What are the simulation tools? What are the artificial intelligence tools? Very basic that exists. And what’s the process? Actually, what is behind a pitstop? And how do we measure that? What is the outcome that would be interesting?”

Meanwhile, Xiao highlighted that G42 is looking to make a “real impact” in the F1 circuit.

“Our end goal here is to not just do some general research but make a real impact in this particular domain. And to do so, we need a deep partnership and long-term commitment. We believe we have found the best possible partnership. Later on, hopefully, what we do together, will be translational, into other broader use cases in the industry.”

Xiao said that G42 is making a human-centric pursuit where the aim is to help drivers and team members. “Our goal here is not to do our experiment together to replace human drivers. But we want to push the boundaries of what’s possible. I do believe as a scientist one day machines can drive the car probably even better. But the real pursuit here is human centric,” Xiao added.

Wolff is confident that the partnership will result in gains both on and off the track in the long run.

“We’ve started to kick off some projects but I’m sure there’s so much more we’ll be doing. And looking back in 10 years, we will find out that it was really fruitful for the two organisations,” Wolff said.

And before dashing to Azerbaijan Wolff added that coming to Abu Dhabi has always been a great experience. “I really love to be here, and spend time with intelligent and nice people.”


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