A Conversation with Juniper & Stoffel Vandoorne, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1™ Reserve Driver
Hear from Stoffel Vandoorne, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1™ Team Reserve Driver, and Juniper Networks, the official network of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team, about how the data and network impacts the whole team, from the drivers to their new smart factory.
What has impacted the car’s performance
What a driver can learn from the data
How the car’s engine will change
Who is this for?
0:03 I actually have the pleasure of introducing our special guest. Stoffel’s Formula One journey started in 2016 where he was actually a reserve driver
0:13 for McLaren and none other than Fernando Alonzo had an injury from the prior race.
0:18 So Stoffel had to jump in and drive.
0:21 And I believe he was only the fifteenth driver in the last twenty years who
0:26 earned points in his very first Formula One race.
0:29 And then he went on to be a driver alongside Fernando for a couple years with McLaren.
0:35 Over the last couple of years, he jumped into Formula E,
0:38 which is the electric version of Formula One.
0:41 And in fact, last year,
0:44 he won the World Championship in Formula E.
0:52 And now we are thrilled to have him as part of the Aston Martin Formula One family.
0:57 So, Stoffel, if you would join me up on stage.
1:05 Good evening. So again,
1:10 you guys have pens and write it on your name tag or whatever.
1:13 If you have questions, we can certainly take them.
1:16 How about the car this year? Here. Like,
1:18 pretty exciting stuff. I will point out,
1:21 I don't know if the audience knows this. We signed on as a sponsor last year,
1:24 but we signed on very late. So the network was locked down.
1:27 We couldn't actually get Juniper in the track side network last year.
1:31 But we've been in the track side network this year.
1:34 There've been two races this year. We’ve been on the podium twice.
1:38 I don't know if there's a relationship there or isn't it?
1:41 It might be the network. So I'm sure that's a part of it,
1:45 but from your point of view, like,
1:47 what what what's allowed the team to make such a jump in just one year?
1:50 That's unusual in Formula One. Yeah. It's it's it's very unusual
1:53 for a team in form one to make such a big step from one year to another.
1:59 But, you know, we've done it and and, you know,
2:01 it's great to to see those first two races that the car is performing very well with two podiums.
2:08 And especially what's been very encouraging is that the two types of tracks, Bahrain and Jeddah that are two complete different circuits was a very good confirmation
2:18 for the team that the car is actually you know,
2:20 working in kind of all conditions. So,
2:24 yeah, I mean, the team has done an amazing job. They've hired
2:26 a couple of new people within the team.
2:28 A few new aerodynamicists who,
2:31 you know, obviously, play a huge role in Formula One these days.
2:37 From different teams. And they've had a huge impact on that performance as well.
2:41 So yeah, there's been a big turnaround.
2:45 But in Formula One, you can never stand still.
2:48 And that's going to be very important right now is to kind of keep our feet on the ground
2:53 and and make sure we keep developing as well because that's what Formula One is all about.
2:58 It's all about development and now,
3:01 we've got a great base car,
3:04 but that needs to improve. And hopefully,
3:06 we can – yes, we can close-up the gap to to Red Bull right now who is the reference -- Mhmm.
3:11 -- and make their life a little bit harder. Yeah. That would be fun.
3:13 That would be fun. Well, you talk about development
3:16 and and and I think a lot of development happens through the data that you gathered.
3:20 And Tom talked about the telemetry that we gather.
3:23 And so I saw a quote from Mike Krack the team principal from
3:28 from the Aston Martin Formula One team.
3:29 And he said, you know, after a practice session or a qualifying session,
3:34 you know, the drivers will come back
3:36 and they'll have a point of view on what was going on with the car.
3:38 But before he listens to the drivers, he looks at the data.
3:41 Now as a driver, you may not agree with that order.
3:44 But from your perspective, like,
3:47 what's the what what can a driver learn from the data?
3:49 And then what can a driver ever add to the data,
3:51 kind of the the context and the feel that you have in the car.
3:55 And how does that work kind of hand in hand? Yeah.
3:57 That that's kind of the beauty about about Formula One and and,
4:01 you know, the the conversation between the drivers and and the engineers.
4:06 I mean, this sport is all about the data that we gather on track
4:09 and then how we can use that to to make the car more competitive and how I can use it
4:16 to get something from the car that I want that is gonna make me drive it faster.
4:19 So it's always a,
4:21 you know, after every session, usually,
4:24 the the drivers will debrief with their engineers.
4:27 They will tell what they feel inside the car.
4:29 And then it's kind of up to the driver to guide the engineers through the data
4:33 because the only thing they see is data traces.
4:36 Yeah. And they have to kind of understand what you're saying to improve the car.
4:41 So Yeah. Every session,
4:44 a lot of data comes in. There's loads of engineers that look at what is happening with the car,
4:49 not only just here at the racetrack,
4:50 but also the majority of them are actually back at the factory in the UK.
4:55 So it's very important that the data gets there quickly gets there safely as well - That’s where we come in?-
5:02 Exactly. Because it's I mean, it's a very competitive sport,
5:05 and we don't want any any other team to find out what we're doing,
5:07 of course. That's right. Yeah. And and, of course,
5:09 the network I mean, we heard Claire, your CIO talk about that.
5:12 And I mean, these cars have how many sensors on on a Formula One car?
5:16 Five hundred or something. Five hundred? Five hundred sensors or something.
5:18 So so that's constantly relaying information back to certainly the engineers in the garage.
5:24 But as you say back at race headquarters, which will be at the new factory as soon as it opens up.
5:27 Right? Yeah. And that that will be a big game changer for the team the new factory.
5:31 I mean, right now, the team has really kind of outgrown the current building that we're in.
5:37 I think one and a half years ago,
5:40 the team was about three hundred and fifty people.
5:43 We're now pretty much over seven hundred people.
5:47 So it's really needed that we up the scale of the factory
5:53 and have the facilities ready for for the next phase of of the team as well.
5:58 Yeah. New wind tunnel and a new building and the whole operation will be right there.
6:02 Exactly. So everything will be under the same roof it's going to be kind of a campus,
6:07 let's say. Yeah. So, you know, everyone will be in the same office space,
6:12 will be better for communication and and yeah,
6:15 hopefully push the team towards the next level.
6:18 While driving, what sensor is most important to you?
6:20 What sensor do you look at? What sensor?
6:25 Or just look information coming in. Yeah. I mean,
6:27 there there's there's a couple of things that, to me, are the most important.
6:30 It's it's kind of the the speed trace of the car.
6:33 And then together with the brake and the throttle application and the steering application,
6:38 that's kind of the main things that you look at and where you can see a lot of the car balance from,
6:45 especially the the steering wheel. Do you see something on that? It's a combination of both.
6:50 Like, I feel it in the car. Yeah. But then I use the data trace to show my engineers that look,
6:55 the corners are going left, but I'm steering right. So the car is not right.
6:58 So, like, you're radioing that real time. Exactly.
7:01 So I'm I'm telling that. And, yeah,
7:03 that's that's what I usually use to to to explain the car balance to the team really.
7:09 Makes sense. How big is the Formula E competition and is it growing?
7:16 Well, Formula E, it's it's very competitive championship.
7:20 So it's obviously fully electric championship
7:23 and a complete different set of regulations than Formula One.
7:27 I would say we don't have the capabilities to develop the aerodynamics of the car.
7:34 So everyone has the same aerodynamics.
7:36 It's just the powertrain that is developed by each manufacturer.
7:41 So the margins are very very close together,
7:45 which makes it a very close competition as well.
7:47 So complete. It's all about the driver and who won last year.
7:50 I won, so. I was I was actually gonna ask you as well.
7:57 Like, so you've you've done both.
7:59 So what what are the differences besides the fact that the the certainly the noise we we
8:03 we all as fans,
8:04 you know, recognize the difference
8:05 there, but kind of what's what's the difference in just the the feel or even the strategy?
8:10 Yeah. I mean, the the noise is definitely definitely one of them,
8:13 although I'm kind of used to used to that right now.
8:16 But I would say the biggest difference
8:19 as a as a driver is the way you break with the cars because right now,
8:24 it's it's like I don't know if you guys have tried,
8:27 like, electric road cars or something
8:28 but it's a it's a strange feeling sometimes on the brake pedal
8:31 because everything happens electrical.
8:33 So there's no actual brake discs on the car anymore.
8:37 Everything is electric. Right?
8:39 So the way you set up the brake system is is quite different than
8:42 than the normal Formula One car of these days,
8:46 let's say. Yes, makes sense. All right.
8:51 What do you love most about your job?
8:54 Everything. I mean,
8:57 I get to do what I love. So you know,
9:00 I grew up with with go karting when I was when I was young,
9:03 when I was six years old, and - Yeah I didn't go that far back in your bio.
9:07 Started with Formula One. You have a long history as a young boy.
9:10 Yeah. But I've kind of been involved in motorsports since I was since I was a young kid.
9:14 So, yeah, to have been able to to,
9:17 you know, make it a job now and to, you know,
9:19 to travel the world, to race everywhere is yeah.
9:22 It's it's great. Not bad. You just just told me you flew thirty two
9:25 hours from Sao Paulo this past weekend to get here
9:28 because you were bracing it for Formula E.
9:30 That’s the thing I don't know enjoy about it.
9:32 It's a little busy.
9:35 Did Vettel word Alonzo up,
9:37 or did he kind of tell him that that Aston Martin would have something special
9:41 for 2023.
9:42 I think if he did, he wouldn't have left. But - Yeah.
9:45 I I don't think he did. No. Yeah. So it was you well,
9:48 I don't you don't need to speculate on Sebastian,
9:51 but yeah. I feel like if he had thought that the team was gonna make this kind of jump,
9:54 he would have thought twice about retiring,
9:56 I would imagine. I Yeah. I mean,
9:58 you know, at the end, it's it's his personal decision.
10:01 So I think he wanted to move on to the next stage of his life
10:04 and spend a little bit more time more time at home because Formula One is exhausting as well.
10:10 It's a lot of traveling, especially when you've,
10:12 you know, got a wife and kids at home, then you know,
10:15 you can't spend a lot of time together. So I think he was ready ready for that.
10:20 Yeah. But I know that at some point he'll he'll miss being in the car.
10:25 Whether that's now already or whether that take will take a little bit longer.
10:29 It's something yeah. You can't get that adrenaline anywhere else.
10:33 Yeah. Which is why Fernando is, what, forty one years old and doing this still? He's still going.
10:36 Yes. What car do you drive apart from Formula One?
10:42 And have you been caught speeding? Do I want to reply to that or? Yeah.
10:50 I have been caught speeding, actually, when I was,
10:53 like, eighteen or something I lost my license for one month.
10:56 Oh, man. What kind of car do you drive? I have Diaz.
11:00 I have a Mercedes. I have an Aston. So have...
11:03 You have to have an Aston. Yeah. I mean.
11:10 This is interesting. So cars are changing, regulations are changing.
11:13 Where do you see Formula One in five years time?
11:16 Probably hard to predict, but any thoughts on that direction?
11:19 Yeah. I mean, the engine is going to change.
11:22 So the hybrid system on the engines will change.
11:25 It'll be more of electric battery capacity in the power delivery for the cars.
11:34 And then, yeah, I don't know what's going to happen with the aerodynamics.
11:37 I mean, it's very dynamic what the FIA and Formula One decide to to make the sport look like.
11:44 But for them, the target is to to really have all the teams compete close together.
11:50 They don't want just someone winning very,
11:52 very easily. Although every time you change the regulations,
11:56 you create more chance that one team is going to have you know a big difference compared to the others,
12:04 which we've kind of seen with - Which happened beginning last
12:06 which happened in the beginning of last year.
12:08 Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Alright. So before I let you go,
12:10 I understand a couple of days ago, was it was your birthday.
12:13 Yes. We couldn't let should go without getting you a little present.
12:16 Oh, Aston Martin slash Juniper colors.
12:19 Thank you very much. It’s a gin made here in Australia,
12:22 and it's actually made by indigenous people and it's believe it or not,
12:26 it has green ants in it.
12:29 Okay. You can see them floating in there. But it apparently gives it a very citrusy flavor.
12:33 Makes your driving experience better. Yes.
12:36 Don't drink and drive. Do not drink and drive.
12:38 Stoffel Vandoorne everybody.