In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Formula 1 World Championship calendar was subject to sweeping changes; several races were canceled, and several new venues were included.
One new racing venue was the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, which hosted the first Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1996.
This created the perfect opportunity to enhance the track infrastructure with a new weather station, including the ability to monitor road surface temperatures (RST).
The Campbell Scientific solution was a quick-to-deploy setup that provided accurate, real-time data to the track owner over a wide range of parameters. The clear data visualisation in KonectGDS ensured an easy method to disseminate the information. This solution was installed within a tight time frame and did not require extensive infrastructure changes to the track, demonstrating the versatility and effectiveness of Campbell Scientific solutions.
Weather strongly influences motorsports, impacting safety, performance, and racing strategies. This makes a weather and road-condition observation system a critical tool for racing teams, race control managers, and track owners, providing them with real-time data during racing events for better nowcasting and more accurate local weather pattern forecasting. Greater knowledge of long-term, local weather patterns is invaluable for track owners so they can provide their clients with important information for scheduling races and private testing events.
A solution was required to monitor a comprehensive range of parameters, including RST. The solution also needed to meet these criteria:
The chosen solution enhanced the racetrack circuit infrastructure with a new weather monitoring system. To measure ambient weather conditions, the Campbell Scientific ClimaVUE™50 multiparameter weather sensor was deployed—an easy-to-install, compact sensor with extremely low power consumption. The ClimaVUE 50 measures air temperature, relative humidity, vapour pressure, barometric pressure, wind (speed, gust, and direction), solar radiation, precipitation, and lightning strikes (count and distance).
To measure the RST, a precursor to the Wintersense SDI-12 sensor—a highly accurate, infrared, non-invasive (no-contact) sensor—was installed several meters from the track.
Both the ClimaVUE 50 and the surface temperature sensor were connected to a small electronics housing with the CR300 datalogger and built-in cellular GPRS modem. The system was powered by mains power, and the three components (electronics housing and two sensors) were easily installed on an existing pole close to the pit entrance.
The weather and RST data can be used by the track owner/operator for the following:
The system’s overall design allows easy and fast deployment in virtually any part of the track, and it is easily mobile.