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Wed 16 Feb 2022

Watch: M-Sport Ford pursue fine margins

M-Sport Ford duo Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith feature in a new documentary examining how complex brain data can be used to generate a vital competitive edge.

Racing Minds reveals how the brain reacts to pressure and constantly-changing situations during competition through sensors encased in drivers’ helmets to measure signals.

The Eurosport documentary follows the pair through a series of ground-breaking on- and off-track experiments at the Motorland Aragón race circuit in Spain to determine how they can understand the workings of the brain to improve performance.

“We are always looking for an edge over our rivals, over our team-mate, and this is such an exciting project because it could give a driver the biggest benefit,” explained Greensmith.

“We have so many data points for the car. There are very few things we don’t record and very few things that we can’t see. The one bit of data that we can’t see is exactly how well is the driver performing and is he in his optimal band. That is just as important as the car.”

Dr Elias Mouchlianitis, a senior lecturer in cognitive neuroscience, led the tests to stream live brain data when a driver was on track.

“It was a huge challenge,” he explained. “Normally this experiment tales place in very, very controlled environments and I think it’s an amazing feat of engineering being able to measure brain signals while a driver is in a car.”

Ford’s Will May has been at the forefront of the project and believes there is an opportunity to improve performance.

“What you see on the track today or on the rally stage is wildly different to the machinery that was being used five, 10 or 20 years ago. The technology that is embodied in those engines has changed, the car has been finessed,” he said.

“But what we are tying to find out is the last frontier which is about mental performance, the brain of the driver. What can we learn about that, how can we improve performance of our drivers through mental training techniques?”

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