© Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport | fotolia/peshkov

Keeping an Eye on Every­thing

The sensors in a Formula OneTM car collect 400 giga­bytes of data during one Grand Prix. ebm-papst applies a high level of detail to moni­toring the oper­a­tions of their fans and blowers as well. Find out here about the data and infor­ma­tion that Formula OneTM cars and ebm-papst blowers transmit.

If the power unit is the heart, the elec­tronics are the brain – this metaphor applies to Formula One cars and fans alike. In order to use the elec­tronics effi­ciently there is a need to contin­u­ously monitor various infor­ma­tion points, and there­fore a variety of sensors collect data for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motor­sport and ebm-papst. The data collected helps the teams to reach top perfor­mance and adjust to a myriad of scenarios.

Over 200 sensors are installed on the Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ car. The data they collect is primarily used to help make well-informed strategic deci­sions during the race, as well as moni­toring how the car is performing. A specialist strategy team analyses the find­ings from the team’s head­quar­ters in Brackley, supporting the team at the track and the Chief Strate­gist on the pit wall to make the right deci­sions within seconds.

Amongst a number of inputs, the sensors on the two Silver Arrows race cars collect the following data:


Each part of the car has its own optimum temper­a­ture oper­ating window. Whether this is this tyres, power unit, gearbox or brake discs, measuring the temper­a­ture of these key compo­nents is essen­tial for the best results on track. If the temper­a­ture gets too high, the load must be reduced to prevent the compo­nents from failing.

Tyre wear and pres­sure

Specific sensors measure tyre heat and degra­da­tion throughout the race. With this data, strate­gists can decide how long a car should stay out on the track and when it’s time for a pit stop.

Fuel consump­tion

With the regu­la­tion changes for 2017 seeing the the cars becoming heavier and wider, the fuel allowance for the race has increased from 100 kilo­grams of fuel to 105 kilo­grams. In order to keep a constant eye on consump­tion and the quality of the fuel, sensors measure fuel level and other para­me­ters.

Aero­dy­namics data

During the weekend, Formula One teams use different instru­ments and proce­dures to measure the airflow around their cars. Aero­dy­namic grat­ings are one example. They contain a matrix of tiny tubes that can measure air pres­sure and turbu­lence.


Partic­u­larly in tight corners, drivers are exposed to extreme forces. A G-force sensor measures the level of the load, indi­cating how stren­uous a race is for the driver and car.

GPS posi­tion

A GPS module deter­mines the exact posi­tion of the cars on the track so the team always know exactly where their drivers are. This data is also trans­mitted to the race director and is used to coor­di­nate the flag signals on the track, thus increasing driver safety.

Just as in Formula OneTM cars, sensors collect a huge variety of data from ebm-papst fans and blowers. The more infor­ma­tion users have on their appli­ca­tion, the better they can control them to improve their oper­ating effi­ciency. The appli­ca­tion in ques­tion and customer require­ments deter­mine exactly which infor­ma­tion is collected and how it is processed. The collected data is processed in a higher-level controller.

The ebm-papst RadiCal in a scroll housing collects a wide range of data for resi­den­tial venti­la­tion, for example:


An impeller installed in the scroll housing precisely measures the actual value of the airflow with the help of two hall sensors – even for low air volumes. This allows the inte­grated control elec­tronics to adjust the speed of the EC motor to the required set value, changing the air volume.


In resi­den­tial venti­la­tion in partic­ular, humidity is a key factor in creating a pleasant room climate. A sensor measures the mois­ture content of the airflow so the higher-level controller can trigger the rele­vant adjust­ments.


A sensor also measures the temper­a­ture of the airflow. It also plays a major role in estab­lishing well-being in the home and can be regu­lated by adjusting the speed.


MODBUS speed moni­toring indi­cates how quickly blowers are running at any given time. In combi­na­tion with airflow, it can be used to calcu­late the oper­ating state and display a filter change alert, for example.

Energy input

Fans from ebm-papst have a repu­ta­tion for high effi­ciency. Energy input measure­ment clearly shows how much energy the blower consumes at a specific point in time.

Air quality

As an option, the RadiCal in a scroll housing can be equipped with sensors to measure the CO2 content and specific parti­cles in the air. This gives users an exact idea of the air quality, enabling them to system­at­i­cally influ­ence it.

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RadiCal in a scroll housing

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