Formula 1 | Cars under the magnifying glass of Quebec’s know-how

Every millimeter counts when trying to improve the performance of a car in Formula 1. To equalize the playing field between the teams, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) turned to the knowledge of the Quebec. Since the start of the season, software designed by InnovMetric has been combing through cars.

Posted at 6:00 am

Julien Arsenault

Julien Arsenault
The press

precision work

We don’t notice it in the paddock of the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit, but behind one of the many garage doors there is a mandatory step for a car. This is where they come under the scrutiny of the team led by Núria Encinas, a control dog safety engineer.

“It simply came to our notice then [les écuries] Don’t be fooled, “he said in an interview with paddock. “It simply came to our notice then. »

Mjo Encinas offered a guided tour of the site The press.

Traditionally, the FIA ​​measured the wings, chassis, ground clearance, and wheelbase, to make sure everything was in order, with physical templates (custom-designed tools).


photo courtesy of innovmetric

Nuria Encinas, security engineer at the International Automobile Federation

It’s hard to see the differences at a glance, but in the royal motoring class, cheating a millimeter can change the game when trying to overtake rivals on the track.

“It’s a lot!” Exclaims M.jo Oaks.

The current season marks a break with the past. With all the aerodynamic changes, the FIA ​​has decided to leave the physical templates for good. High precision work was entrusted to a laser sensor.

“Every car is different,” says the FIA ​​security engineer. We could not have a template for each car. Now everything can be measured. »

How it works ?

The FIA ​​has adopted the PolyWorks platform, InnovMetric’s flagship. Basically, this software allows you to perform high-precision measurements.


photo courtesy of innovmetric

The FIA ​​garage is essential for single-seater cars on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit.

Parked in an elevator, the cars are measured by a multitude of spherical reflectors installed in specific places. At the controls of a laser tracker, the data is sent to a database to be compared with an approved digital model.

The goal is to ensure that everything is in order in five minutes.

“It’s really very simple for the person doing it,” says Jean-Sébastien Blais, an engineer and expert in deploying the business solution at InnovMetric. “With a laptop and a laser tracker, a person can do the inspection. That’s what our platform allows you to do.”

A rule change during the season? No problem, says Mr. Blais. Just adjust the software data. The FIA ​​does not need to order new templates, which are often bulky and expensive.

natural relationship

How did the FIA ​​choose InnovMetric?

In the automotive industry, the Quebec company is well known. Leading automakers use PolyWorks to ensure that various parts, such as doors, comply with regulations.

The company claims that more than “80%” of the computers use the platform.


Photo by Hugo-Sébastien Aubert, THE PRESS

Jean-Sébastien Blais, engineer and expert in business solutions deployment at InnovMetric

“By mastering this technology, when [les constructeurs automobiles] They have a racing team like Ferrari, they can apply it in different ways, says Mr. Blais. The FIA ​​realized that to be effective, they needed this kind of technology. »

In training

The Canadian Grand Prix is ​​the ninth event of the season. Owning a PolyWorks license, the FIA ​​continues to work to refine the software to suit your needs.

Therefore, improvements are still expected in terms of execution.

“You have to interpret the data and understand how everything works,” Ms.jo Oaks. It’s more complicated because of that, but we can do a lot more when it comes to audits. »

InnovMetric has a network of subsidiaries located around the world. Therefore, in case of problems, the specialists of the company are available quickly. In technology, “there are always adjustments to be made,” adds Mr. Blais.

InnovMetric in a nutshell

  • Year of foundation: 1994
  • Headquarters: Quebec
  • Direct international presence: 16 countries
  • Clients: 18,700

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