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BT inks deal with Williams F1 for go-faster cloudy goodness

And gets a tiny logo on the car hidden by the driver's head

The Williams Formula 1 racing team has sealed a cloud services deal with one-time state telco monopoly BT. This will give the racing team fixed and mobile comms in what they have called a “a multi-year strategic technology partnership”.

The deal means BT gets its logos on the headrests of this year's Williams Mercedes FW37 car, as well as gaining access to the team garage and hospitality suite.

BT either doesn’t charge for the services or gives a substantial discount in return.

As part of the deal, BT will also be supplying services, kit and consulting to Williams’ Advanced Engineering division, which takes Formula One-derived technology and know-how into the automotive, motorsport, energy, civil aerospace and defence sectors.

The two organisations worked together on a pilot scheme towards the end of the 2014 season, which demonstrated some of the tangible competitive benefits achievable for Williams with higher-performance network services. Those benefits included improved car performance due to additional strategic capability, quicker pit-stops and race video analysis, and improved performance and reliability for demanding Big Data computing processes, including applications relying on video, telemetry and voice.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “Both BT and Williams have an illustrious history of competing successfully at the top 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.”

Pat Symonds, CTO of Williams, said: “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. 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”.

Williams rediscovered its mojo last season and looks set for a good 2015, meaning that BT – having spent all its money on buying EE and football rights – can clearly only afford a headrest on the new car. ®

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