Microsoft goes F1 racing

July 7, 2006 In February this year we discussed the fascinating call by the governing body of international motorsport, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), for expressions of interest in providing the standard electronic control system for all F1 cars as part of the drive to reduce the sport's prohibitive costs. Overnight it was announced that Microsoft MES has been selected as the official ECU supplier to F1 in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Now the world's largest software vendor has had its eye on the automotive environment as one of the cornerstones of future computing for some time, recently winning Best Telematics Solution at the Telematics Detroit 2006 with its Microsoft Windows Mobile for Automotive platform, BUT ... let's hope the boys and gals from Redmond are on the ball with this one as anything less than perfect is not good enough in the world of F1 and it could prove to be the almightiest gaffe in Public Relations history if perfection isn't achieved. A large chunk of the world's population watches a Formula One race and F1 drivers are particularly unforgiving of technical failure when they get a microphone in front of them.

Other key announcements from the FIA overnight concerned Bridgestone being selected as the official tyre supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and probably be default in 2007 too. In the absence of a second tyre company Bridgestone will be the sole tyre supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship for 2007. Bridgestone's contract with the FIA to be the official tyre supplier begins in 2008.

Similarly, due to a significant increase in cornering speeds in Formula One this season, the World Motor Sport Council agreed to consult with the Formula One Technical Working Group regarding possible measures to slow the cars.

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