Acronis founder and CEO Serguei Beloussov, Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost, and driver Daniil Kvyat addressed local and federal media at the Rossiya Segodnya International Press Center. They covered a wide range of topics but the focus was on the importance of IT in Formula 1.
The role of IT in Formula 1
Beloussov: Formula 1 is not just a mere sport — it’s an engineering and scientific sport. And the drivers are not just drivers — they have to be able to analyze large amounts of data before and during the race. Formula 1 is completely data-driven. Toro Rosso generates a lot of data — about 1TB per race weekend and 15TB per day back at the factory — and Acronis has the technology to store and protect it in the most efficient way.
Tost: IT is part of every single process of producing a Formula 1 car. Scuderia Toro Rosso is using cutting-edge technology and the latest software to design, manufacture, and test new cars. Toro Rosso operates three data centers to guarantee business continuity for over 400 staff and engineers across Faenza HQ in Italy and the wind tunnel facility in Bicester, England.
Reliance on data makes the partnership with Acronis very important for Toro Rosso as Acronis has the technology to store, backup, and restore data in the most efficient way. (See press release announcing the start of deploying Acronis technology at Toro Rosso).
On human creativity
Beloussov: There is no limit to human creativity. Human creativity is what puts companies in front even when on a limited budget. This is true for Toro Rosso competing against bigger teams in the series and Acronis competing against large corporations in a similar market space.
Tost: Formula 1 is evolving just like any other sport. While the goal is to make sure the drivers are safe, it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the race entertainment value. For example, the Grand Prix in Brazil this year was very exciting. Because of the rain, there was a lot of overtaking and there were some crashes. While crashes are part of racing, we were lucky that nothing major happened to drivers during that race.
New 2017 season and new technical regulations
Formula 1 needs to increase the number of teams that are genuinely competitive at the finish line, ultimately giving all teams a chance to win the championship. The championship should be decided at the end of the season and the regulators need to do more to increase each teams capacity to be competitive.
Currently, Formula 1 may be perceived as a championship of engineers. The team with the most money and more engineers wins. Next year’s changes will test the engineering capacity of different teams. It would be good to then see another set of further regulations the following year, in order to even out the playing field for all teams.
About F1 technology
Tost: Formula 1 develops technology that can be beneficial for other industries. For example, Formula 1 cars have two energy recovery systems (ERS) — Kinetic Energy Recovery System, converting kinetic energy generated under braking into electricity and a Heat Energy Recovery System, converting heat energy from exhaust gases into electrical energy. In 5-10 years, it’s likely that regular cars will use this technology, for example, to reduce fuel consumption down to 2 liters per 100 km.
Can computers replace the F1 driver?
Kvyat: Computers provide valuable information to help the drivers do their job, but they can’t replace the actual driving. It’s up to the driver to decide what to do with data such as wind speed or the tyre temperature. Every team utilizes computer data as much as possible, but it’s important for the driver to discern what is useful and what is not.
About Acronis sponsorship
Beloussov: These are the three key reasons for sponsoring Toro Rosso:
- Daniil Kvyat is a Russian driver. Acronis employs hundreds of highly valuable staff in Russia, and supporting a local driver makes a lot of sense.
- Scuderia Toro Rosso is one of the most effective teams in Formula 1. Under the leadership of Franz Tost and on a limited budget the team has arguably achieved more results than other, bigger teams. In a similar way, Acronis too must be effective, because Acronis also competes against larger companies in the IT industry.
- Formula 1 racing is important for Acronis because of the technology component. It is the only sport where IT plays such an important role in every part of its operation.
On Formula 1 in Russia
Tost: For Formula 1 to become popular there needs to be a relatable history and a national hero. Unfortunately, there is no Formula 1 history in Russia yet. But I hope that Daniil will become a hero.
Just like before Michael Schumacher, there was no Formula 1 culture in Germany. But then it all changed. When people understand the fusion of technology, human skill and engineering in this sport, the interest in Formula 1 in Russia will grow.
The opening of Acronis office at Phystechpark
Following the morning press conference, Franz Tost and Serguei Beloussov spoke about the role of IT at Phystechpark, a new purposefully built technology hub for business incubation and the development of human capital.
Phystechpark is located in close proximity with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the country’s leading technical university that has produced seven Nobel Prize winners, three cosmonauts, and a number of famous business personalities, including Acronis’ own founder and CEO Serguei Beloussov.
Daniil Kvyat and Franz Tost joined Serguei Beloussov and Stanislav Protassov in the opening ceremony of the Acronis office, which is scheduled to move to this location in the coming months.
Kapitsa Phystech School
Following the two official events with journalists and business representatives, Daniil and Franz spent some time with over 300 school students at the Phystech School (Phystech-Lyceum).
Daniil shared his journey about becoming a Formula 1 driver, and Franz, Serguei and Stanislav encouraged children to follow their dreams.
On the importance of programming
Protassov: No matter what you do — biochemistry, business, social sciences, or anything else — knowing how to program is very useful and very important. It will help you a lot in the future.
Phystech School is the best mathematics school in the country. You’ll be able to select any program at the university. And if you decide to come and work for Acronis, we’ll be waiting for you!
Daniil remembers his school years
Kvyat: This reminds me of my early school years! When I was at school, I was a little naughty, probably like some of you here! But I loved foreign languages. English, Italian, Spanish, French… These languages really helped me in my career, because Formula 1 is a very international sport. Our engineers, mechanics, and drivers come from many different countries! But if I could turn back time, I’d spend more time studying mathematics. Because when I started racing, I had to do it all over again.
Setting life goals
Tost: You’re now in a very important stage of your life trying to decide what to do in the future. The only advice I can give you is to observe yourself and try to find what you like the most. Find out in which area you’d like to become a professional in, and then go for it, whatever it is. And once you decided, stick to it, whatever it is — IT, mathematics, physics, karting, football — go for it!
Believe in yourself, because there will be years when you’ll face a lot of obstacles and a lot of problems, with life going up and down. But if you believe in yourself, if you’re confident, you’ll achieve your goals whatever they are.
An open lesson of physical education
Following the official part, Daniil and the guests moved to the gymnasium for an open lesson on physical education, where Daniil showed some of his athletic and balancing skills!
Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Phystech
This was the main event of the day — celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Phystech).
More than 550 students and distinguished guests came to meet the members of the Scuderia Toro Rosso team in person and learn about the role of IT in Formula 1.
As part of the celebration, Serguei Beloussov, Acronis, and Parallels donated 100 million rubles ($1.5 million) towards the University’s Endowment Fund.
About Acronis Hybrid Cloud Architecture
Beloussov: One of the most important things we’re doing right now is our new hybrid cloud software architecture. It is designed to give customers control over their data.
There are many global companies offering data storage and computing in the cloud. We live in between those companies and our customers. Our software allows customers to choose how to manage their data, how to protect it, where to store it, and how to restore it. They have full control because data is a very important part of your life, your business, and your research laboratory.
About IT in Toro Rosso
Tost: When I came to Toro Rosso, there were two freelancers in the IT department, and I was totally shocked. Without IT you cannot design a car, produce a car or successfully work at the racetrack. IT is so closely linked to performance, that we spend a lot of money and place great importance on this department.
And finally, question time
There were over 600 questions collected from students online and in the foyer before the event, but only a few were asked. Most of these questions were addressed to Daniil.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. I like tennis and swimming.
Q. Who would you have liked to race against if you had a chance?
A. Michael Schumacher.
Q. If you were a cube, what would you want to become instead, a ball or a rectangular parallelepiped?
A. I wouldn’t want to make my life difficult. I’d remain a cube.
Q. What are the most important values for you in life?
A. Honesty, openness, and family. I love what I do.
Q. What is the taste of victory?
A. Tasty! Victory is not just about the results, It’s a journey with its highs and lows, pains and happiness.
The above events took place in Moscow, Russia, on November 17, 2016. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity purposes.