Formula One: motor of innovation

While the question: “is F1 a sport?” has become an internet meme, many people are considering it as a polluting, expensive and unnecessary show. Even if the foreground of every grand prix is a gathering of wealth, exuberance and noisy cars; F1 has been, and still is, a major driving force of today and tomorrow’s society in terms of performance, protection, management and environment.

Since 1950 and the first Grand Prix in Silverstone, UK, the F1 industry has never stopped searching for ways to improve every detail of racing, whether it’s on the engine, the car or the personnel. Obviously many technical breakthroughs have emerged and worked their ways to regular cars. The shape of every vehicle is the result of aerodynamics studies that have shown that a flattened and well-curved car is less impacted from wind and air flow. The composition and structure of tires has now improved grip and drag, and mechanically speaking, engines have been miniaturized and optimized as well as today’s V6 (6 cylinders) are more powerful than mid-2000’s V12 engines.

BMW-Sauber car air flow. (2006)

Although these breakthrough aren’t off the charts as we’re talking about a motorsport based on performance, other fields have been impacted too. For example, the F1 industry studied the carbon fiber which is a very light and resistant materials with great properties under strain and high temperatures. In order to lighten formula one cars, this fiber has been transformed to carbon shell which is now used in every modern aerodynamic vehicle (bikes, motorcycles, planes, rockets and more). It was on a F1 circuit for the first time in 1981, and developed by Mclaren Racing. Carbon fiber’s resistance is also a huge benefit for people safety as it is now used for technical clothing or military equipment to absorb chocks without overweighting. To improve driver’s safety even more, today’s F1 cars have retention cables holding wheels to the shell and side impact bodies, technologies which will surely be added to regular autos in a near future, like it happened for the ABS (anti-lock braking system).

1981’s McLaren carbon shell.

Human management improvements are also a huge part of racing sport research. Through qualification sessions and race day, winning is a matter of milliseconds and all means are good to earn them.  2020’s Mercedes Racing Team is composed of more than 500 employees, with a hundred of engineers and technicians working every race day on the paddock around the 2 star drivers. Dealing with every personality and making the process work perfectly, everybody knowing their role, has become a master piece in F1. Big companies are inspired by biggest team directors that have lead their teams to long term winning culture, such as Jean Todt, Toto Wolf, Ron Dennis or Christian Horner; indeed its efficiency has become a world class model.

Red Bull’s managing team on the paddock. (2015)

Oddly, F1 is starting to put its print on hospital and surgical block management too. Mortality rate in British health institutes in the 90’s was the spark for huge society debates, increased in 1994 by a study showing a lack of coordination from the hospital staff. Dr Elliott and Goodman has required the Formula one team Scuderria Ferrarri to share the principles and accuracy of its pit-stop team. Pit stop is a major part of racing, whether it’s changing tires or removing broken parts of the car, many seconds can be lost in its process. To optimize its efficiency, every crew member has a strictly defined role, and knows every other member’s function, allowing him or her to improvise and react on purpose. The improvement of team member’s coordination, confidence and well-being has led to an all-time quick pit stop of 1.82s to change every tires of the RedBull car in 2019, which is the average reaction time of a human being. Helped by a choreographer, the Ferrarri pit stop crew has helped initiate a three steps process for hospital staffs to optimize their movements and reactions. The first step is to predict issues and to carry out standardized procedures as answers, then the crew has to master these procedures by periodic training, to end up with everybody knowing perfectly each coworker’s job and be able to be in charge. Hosiptals have also bought F1 teams data processors in order to fasten and sort out the patients monitoring easily.

Ferrarri pit-stop crew at work. (2019)

Formula one is now in the front row of ecological research in the automobile field. Many devices created for F1 are now common equipment for every day’s car. The thermal energy produced by the racing car is gathered and transformed in kinetic energy which is reinjected in the engine by a system called KERS (kinetic energy recovery system). It allows them to reach a 50% thermal efficiency, meaning that a F1 car recycles more energy than it loses, which is a huge improvement for a 1000 horsepower racing vehicle.  It’s not the only device reducing gas consumption created by F1 search and development teams, however their main resources are dedicated to hybrid and electrical engines. Inspired by KERS, a hybrid engine collects thermic energy then transfers it to an electric battery which is afterward used to run its electrical part. This system allows recent hybrid cars to lengthen their autonomy up to hundreds of kilometers using only their electrical component. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, responsible for the evolution of F1 racing) is pushing towards the development of the newly born Formula E championship in which only fully electrical cars can compete.

Ahead of its time, F1’s research has improved performance, comfort and security of today’s cars, however this industry is now looking forward to create a less polluting way of travel. The whole automobile field benefits from the new policy of the FIA aiming to dominate motorsport racing with a non-polluting championship. The search and development budget of F1 teams  exceeds a billion dollars and will continue to grow. Formula E is meant to be the new Formula One and it’s the best thing that can happen to the car industry.

Sleepover at Polytech… (not really)

Since 2007, on the first Thursday of the month of December, La Nuit de l’Info takes place on several campuses in France.


What is La Nuit de l’Info about?

La Nuit de l’Info is a national competition where students, teachers, and companies come together and work on different challenges to develop a web application in one night.
This year, La Nuit de l’Info started on December 5th at 4:39pm, as the sun was
setting and it finished at 8:03am, the following morning.
To participate, teams of ten students each are created. This challenge is not only for computer science students, as students from other courses are welcomed to participate and bring new ideas to each project.
Each company proposes a different challenge and the eventual prizes that can go from gift cards to actual money.

I had the pleasure to meet up with Emma, a TIS3 student who participated at this event and was eager to tell me all about it!

– Could you please introduce yourself? Why did you want to take part in this project?

My name is Emma Theffo and I come from Reunion Island. I am studying Information Technology for Health at Polytech Grenoble.
When I heard about this project, I wanted to participate because I love adventure. I was very keen to try something that I have never done before and further my knowledge about Computer Science.

– Could you please introduce your team?

The name of my team was Polyglottesand it consisted of Gilles Mertens, Valentin D’Emmanuele, Bertrand Baudeur, Ethan Malecot, Paul Cirstea, Titouan Minier Mancini, Daphné Lambert, Mathis Mutel, Alexandre Soulard and myself. Everyone is a student at Polytech, besides Valentin who studies at Ensimag.
We had a coach that was there to guide us during our project. His name is Mathis and he works for
Sogeti, a company that provides technology and engineering services all around the world. However, no teachers were there to supervise us. All the work was done by students!

Selfie time for the Polyglotte team!

– What were the challenges proposed to your team?

This year’s main subject was “to increase the empowerment of students facing precarity”.
This subject was imposed on every team that participated in La Nuit de l’Info.
We could also choose five other challenges, and together we decided to choose:
“Escape from chaos monkey”, “A naming convention not like the others”, “Optimize your solution”, “Cartography”and “Sous la robe des LegalTech”.
Our main strategy to choose the challenges we wanted to work on, was quite
interesting …
(laughs)We actually made a choice based on how many teams were already working on it!
Unfortunately, we only had the time to do three out of the five challenges that we chose… We tried our best to cover all of the issues but sadly, our biggest problem was time! We did not feel like we had enough time to tackle everything… We really wanted to do the naming-convention challenge but we ran out of time before we could give it our best.
Mathis and I were kind of disappointed as we were trying to come up with a funny naming convention.
But on the brighter side, we
won twoout of those three! We came in first placein “Escape from chaos monkey” andthird placein “Sous la robe des LegalTech”.

– Would you recommend participating in this project?

If you like coding and are adventurous, you’re going to love this project!
The challenges were mostly done by the ones who were really good in computer science. Actually, everyone in my team had had classes of computer science before. Nonetheless, I would still recommend to try it out, even if you’re not very comfortable with coding.
You have to keep in mind that, even if you’re not coding, you still have other tasks to do such as choosing the website design, researching about the subjects so the websites can be created and full of information, and so on.
Oh… And don’t forget to cheer your friends up because when someone’s tired, they will need motivational words :).

– How did you manage to stay awake all night?

To stay awake, you need energy and energy comes from food!
We were given pizza, apple pie, apricot pie, and many sweets. Also, keep in mind that we had loads of Redbull cans which turned out to be very useful, along with other snacks that we brought ourselves.
To tell you the truth, it was really difficult to pull an all-nighter because I had classes afterward and I was feeling extremely tired.

– How did you like this experience?

This experience was outstanding! It was so much fun to do this with friends and to spend the night at Polytech.
Our coach, Mathis, was so funny and friendly. He was a big support system that really helped us to get through the night.
A few times during the night, I felt kind of useless but I would always find the
motivation to keep going and find new things to do and be helpful… I would say that it was a great experience overall and I am very proud of my team!

– Are you thinking about doing this next year?

Yes, why not! (laughs)
Hopefully next year, I will have the knowledge to help a bit more when it comes to coding.
I also found it very interesting that the main topic of La Nuit de l’Info, was an
actual topic that affects a lot of students in France and raises a lot of questions.

– Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank my teammates and our coach for everything that they’ve done. I hope you enjoyed it as much as me.
I encourage everyone that would be interested in La Nuit de l’Info to sign up next year and let’s get coding!

Did you know…?
During La Nuit de l’Info, several students rode the bicycles with mile trackers that were at Polytech to help the Telethon fundraising!

Science Show Competition 2020

Cette année encore se tiendra à Polytech Grenoble le Science Show, compétition organisée pour les élèves de 3ème année, toutes filières confondues !

Le principe est simple : il faut filmer la réalisation d’une expérience scientifique, et en expliquer le principe, un peu à la C’est pas sorcier, le tout dans la langue de Shakespeare.

Drôles et intéressantes, la projection des vidéos aura lieu le lundi 10 février à 12h30 en salle 146, et les spectateurs pourront voter pour leurs préférées. Vous êtes donc attendus très nombreux pour y participer et faire gagner la meilleure, alors à vos votes !

The Science Show Competition

Comme chaque année se tiendra à Polytech Grenoble le Science Show, une compétition organisée par les enseignants d’anglais pour les élèves de 3ème année, toutes filières confondues !

Le principe ? Filmer la réalisation d’une expérience scientifique, et bien sûr expliquer son principe, le tout dans la langue de Shakespeare ! La projection des vidéos aura lieu le lundi 11 février à 12h30 en salle 146 ! Les spectateurs pourront ensuite voter pour leurs vidéos préférés, et les 3 meilleures seront récompensées !

Vous êtes attendus très nombreux pour assister aux projections des vidéos et faire gagner la meilleure ! A vous de jouer !

Affiche de promotion, Science Show 2019

Olivier Troussard, a League of Legends captain

Today we meet Olivier Troussard, a student in TIS5 at Polytech Grenoble. He is the captain of the two school’s League of Legends (LoL) first team (out of two).

Who are you?

My first year at Polytech was at Lille in PeiP C after one year of PACES. I participated in a tournament between a couple Polytech schools but I was playing just for fun at the time, so we lost quickly. Then I arrived at Grenoble the next year, in TIS, and I continued playing without taking part in any tournament. It’s only since last year that we put together the first LoL team and participated to our first tournament together. That year I played to Counter Strike, and a member of the team played to LoL (and ranked second!) at a LAN with the INP and the Imag. This year, we continued playing with other Polytech students and participated to a some tournaments. As I am currently following a sandwich course, I travel very often between Paris, where I have my desktop computer, and Grenoble, where I go to the Meltdown bar to play and train. It is not easy but it is worth it, I enjoy playing a lot, even if I do not plan to make it a professional career.

How did the LoL team start?

Last year, a student tournament already took place, to which we participated with the majority of the members of our current team. For this year’s edition, the organisers (the Student Gaming Network association, based in Lyon) improved the overall organisation and offered more interesting prizes (unlike last year, they are supported by Riot France, the makers of the game). So I asked if they wanted to do it again, and they were ok: we have 11 players, enough to create 2 teams of 5 players with 1 substitute player in the first team. We play LoL because we like it (of course), we have enough players with a high enough level and it is the videogame with the biggest tournaments in France.

Is there a difference of level between the teams? Do they practice the same way?

Yes, they are pretty different one from another. The first team is rather high level, the second one is more for fun, they don’t seek to be the absolute best. I am the captain of the first one. Our team do practice a lot at home, even more when a competition is coming soon: 2 to 3 practices a week, during which we do 3 games of approximately 1 hour each, so 6 to 9 hours a week.

What level are your players and do you help each other? (see Figure 1)

In the first team, we have one Master, one Diamond 3-4 (me), two Diamond 5 and two Platinum 2-5. In the second team they are Gold and Silver. Our Master and I play since 2012, our Diamonds since 2013-2014 and the others started later, hence their lower level. Last year, since we only had one team, Guillaume, Théo and I (Diamond players) gave some advice to two other Silver players so that the level would be sort of uniform. This year we don’t have many interactions between the two teams, even though the second one watches most of our games.

Icons for League of Legends' 6 tiers

« Leagues are groups of players of similar skill level, and there are many leagues in each tier. [Players have to] win ranked games to be promoted to a league of the next tiers. All leagues (except those in the Master or Challenger tier) are broken down into five divisions: 1 is the highest and 5 the lowest. [It] shows the progress toward a league in the next tier. »

Source: Riot Games

How do you prepare for a tournament and do you have predefined roles?

We watch our opponents games, as a team but also each player individually in games where they don’t play with their team: every champion they usually play, their stats… All of the information is summarized in a big Excel sheet. We also think of which champions we will choose in consequence. There is a lot of upsteam work. We change our substitute player regularly so that everyone can play and not only the ones with the highest level. When a player is the substitute, he has an analist or coach role.

Do you have any sponsors and what can you win?

No, and this is not something we are looking for, we are not a pro or semi-pro team where results are expected. There are approximately 600 french teams and even if we are theorically the 12th team on a national level (based on our players individual levels) sponsors are only interested in the teams in the top 3 I would say. We can win for example Riot points (the game’s currency to buy champions, skins, etc.), a book with some artworks of the game or even a Monster fridge, filled with the brand’s cans.

How was your past tournaments and do you have any others planned?

At the beginning of the year we lost in quarter-final. We have played our second tournament with 128 teams so 8 games for each team: we have won against, INP, Phelma and University Paris Créteil amongst others. We ranked 24th in France! It will probably be our last tournament this year, since most of our players are in fourth year and that many of them will go abroad for their internship, which will make the organisation way more complicated, but we’ll see. We are informed of the upcoming events through the official Student Gaming Network Discord server ( Next time we will have a tournament or a game streamed live it will be shared on the BDJ’s Facebook page and on the school’s Discord.