Tag Archives: Cristian Cascetta

Innovation Chat with Vicente Pechuan Vilar, Engineering Specialist at Magneti Marelli Motorsport

The future of Motorsport? Very difficult to guess it. For this reason, after the interviews to LapTime Club 2014 Innovators Alessandro Sarcina and Cristian Cascetta, we decided to introduce Vicente Pechuan Vilar, Engineering Specialist at Magneti Marelli Motorsport.

Besides his daily professional job, Vicente is also one of Magneti Marelli LapTime Club community engagers, and recently published some interested ideas inside the community. Read his community profile here, and enjoy this new Innovation Chat!

SEE ALSO: Innovation Chat with Cristian, Top Innovator and Winner of LapTime Club 2014

Hello Vicente, and welcome. In your personal opinion, does the motorsport future belong to connected cars?

First of all, I wanted to thank the LapTime Club for allowing me to express my ideas in such an open environment. I’d also like to make use of the opportunity to thank everybody who is contributing to this flow by voting and, most of all, by expressing their opinions. Furthermore, remember that most of times the ideas from people outside of the motorsport environment are usually the fresher, most clean from preconceptions and vices. All opinions are welcome!

So coming to us, does the motorsport future belong to connected cars? Well I guess that depends on… connected to what? If you mean to the internet or to some kind of big, public database, I don’t think so. When talking about motorsport, information is key to success, so teams seldom share data, it’s like gold for them. For this reason, data will always be a secret, in my opinion.

On the other hand, if we are talking about vehicles connected between themselves and all this info being monitored by race control, that would be definitely a yes! And not only motorsport, I think one day all road vehicles will be interconnected and, somehow, they will all know what vehicles around them are doing. But coming back to our sports environment, I believe there are still some concepts to exploit: if a car has a mechanical problem, why not to show it not only to the rider, but also to the riders behind him? If race control wants to give an urgent message to all drivers, why not to do it, simultaneously, to all of them? Or to the team? And how?

And to end with it, think about it: when I worked and lived away from races, I imagined all teams had, inside their box, a set of monitors where they could see what their riders were doing, real time. Nothing further from reality… when I came to MotoGP and finally worked with teams inside their boxes, my eyes were fully opened when I saw that, during the races, the only way they have to know what their riders are doing, is through TV broadcast! So, if you are not Marquez or Rossi, meaning that your rider never appears in TV, you are looking all the time at monitors that tell you partial times in current lap and show a yellow dot if he’s doing his pest partial. That’s all, for all the race! Come on, in the 21st century still with this? So as you can imagine, there’s still a long way to go.

Actually the matter will not be if they will be connected, but what data will be shared and how.

SEE ALSO: Innovation Chat with Alessandro, one of the 2014 LapTime Club Winners

Wearable in motorsport: which innovative product development do you foresee in the near future?

I must confess, I love science fiction… since I was very young, so I feel very familiar and consider almost-normal some of the things I’ve “grown with”, watching on TV and films. You know what I’m talking about… Star Trek, Iron Man… you can see them wearing very cool accessories! And I’d love today’s riders/drivers to wear them. And they’d also be useful.

  • Health sensors all around the body, to help medical control to know the status of all riders, all the time. Also, for TV purposes and rider knowledge himself.
  • Accelerometers, to engage safety hardware, like specific airbags or other car/bike safeties.
  • Small monitors worn in the wrist of the mechanics, each of them showing specific data for specific purposes.
  • Head Up Display (HUD). This one I particularly love. I can’t wait, and I believe it’s a matter of time, to see bike information displayed in the visor of helmets. This could help a lot safety and improve information visualization and reaction times.
  • Mini cameras. All around the bike and the body of the rider, to be used by TV or team’s purposes, to monitor situation in 360 degrees.

Which innovative solutions and best practices related to infotainment but useful for the motorsport industry could you imagine?

I have always intended infotainment as a better, easier and “more advance” way of displaying information to the user and interacting with it. Actually, infotainment mixes information and entertainment. It’s like curved-3D TV in opposition to old style, black and white TVs.

We have come a long way in this sense, info is showed in much nicer, powerful and easier to understand modes. The thing with motorsport in particular, is that there is a huge amount of information to be analyzed, and displaying it in the best of the ways is not always easy. Besides, it requires a lot of effort from the user, in order to create the appropriate layouts, which in the other hand renders it much more personal and narrowed upon single needs.

Some of the solutions I’m sure will come sooner rather than later we’ve discussed above. For example, the HUD, Head Up Display, already used from decades in the jet fighter industry, and in use in some road cars such as some BMWs, Peugeots… for me, it’s a huge step in information displaying to the user. In this case, the user being the rider/driver. For the technical staff, I can already imagine touch-screen monitors, mouse that can handle the computer pointer without the need of a solid surface (so, basically, having your hand in the air), small tablets to easily show the rider the info he’s usually most interested at, computers that send voice commands and information to the user, and user that can respond, data transfer through ultra-fast wifi, so cables will be needed only as a backup… without forgetting phasers and plasma torpedoes! :P

What about the application of telemetry tools – such as Magneti Marelli WinTAX – to other non-motorsport sports?

We, motorsport  workers and co-workers, tend to be very proud of ourselves, to believe we are working in an environment that’s actually the pinnacle of performance and speed. We tend to forget that competition itself means the search for perfection and defeating your opponent (with best practices and always friendly approach, that’s for sure), and competition is vast and wide, and goes much, much beyond motorsport, right? Let’s think about a couple of non-motorsport sports, and think how tools like WinTAX could help.

  • Biking. I can’t imagine any other sport that puts so much physical stress into the sportsman. Yet, even without mechanical engines, it’s so focused on speed and performance. I can imagine everybody willing to have situation continuously monitored in real time, speed, strokes per minute, oxygen consumption, calories, position on GPS, distance to a particular rider… for road biking and mountain biking!
  • Marathon. Same here, very focused, in this case, on health parameters. I guess all professional long distance runners would love to see nice data from their performance, and it would help them and medical experts to exploit human capacity to further limits. Also for rush races! Like Usain Bolt and company.
  • Triathlon, Decathlon… sensorizing bike and shoes, and putting a GPS to all riders, in order to see where they’re strong and where they’re not, compared to their best performances and to others.
  • Swimming, skiing, America’s Cup

In the end, it’s about imagining which sensors and which data would make for each particular sport, and being able to analyze data with WintaxPossibilities are endless!

Thank you Vicente for your ideas, insights and suggestions. See you and keep in touch on Magneti Marelli LapTime Club! #LapTimeClub

Innovation Chat with Cristian, Top Innovator and Winner of LapTime Club 2014

After the final selection of LapTime Club 2014 Cristian Cascetta was the author of the second winning idea.

SEE ALSO: Innovation chat with Alessandro, one of the 2014 LapTime Club Winners

He thought to embed a knowledge management system in WinTAX to open up all this knowledge and make it available to decision makers using Search Technologies.

Being an innovator means to have an idea that can make the state of the art of something easier and more understandable for others. By the way, to simplify a process and to make the urgency hidden in it clear for people can be a great challenge, but Cristian made it thanks to his active and enthusiastic contribution to the community. He had the opportunity to share his own idea with other innovation enthusiasts like him, improving and shaping his initial proposal thanks to community comments and reviews, becoming also a Top Innovator for his high level of engagement with the community itself.


Discover more about Cristian’s experience and suggestions through the following interview.


It’s a dialogue. We are bridging Magneti Marelli’s world of ultraprecise data analysis and high accuracy manufacturing  with the quite fuzzy world of information retrieval, unstructured documents and natural language processing. We share the final goal of leveraging sense making of data to empower decision making.  In the last three months we analyzed together potential innovation directions and now we are defining a first minimum viable product or maybe – hopefully! – a first killer application.

I’m bringing in my expertise in information retrieval and document systems analysis and I’m getting back from Magneti Marelli precious insights into motorsport needs and requisites. It’s a bit cliché, but in these months I experienced in first person how much motorsport forces you to confront with extreme operating conditions and incredibly fast paced processes. It’s so inspiring that it helped me to re-frame other ideas I’m working on in my more “traditional” domain, finding at least two or three interesting innovation directions.


It’s all based on observation and listening to people. I try to put on the anthropologist hat and get rid of prejudice, looking at things with a fresh eye. It’s a great humility exercise, you don’t have to be scared of looking sometimes terribly naive or to ask too simple questions, and if people think at you like a sort of strange version of Lieutenant Columbo, who matters?


 No, in fact I try to avoid to embrace too familiar paths. Obviously like everyone I have my own comforting rituals, spaces, objects and practices helping me to put myself in a mixed feeling of relax and enthusiasm to attack a new challenge.

 Usually I start reading very much, not necessarily staying on topic, sometimes also freely divagating, but trying to keep alive a present feeling of the problem I’m confronted with. It helps me to make fresh connections and find alternative paths to my problem.


1-Technicians. 2-Technicians. 3-Technicians!

When you are engaged in new projects or you are trying to innovate, you have the chance to meet a wide range of professionals. Many of them, designers, marketing guys, entrepreneurs have a positive attitude in expressing creative ideas, no matter how crazy these ideas are.

Technicians are often in a more reserved attitude. Sometimes they’re scared of not being clear, or of expressing their ideas in a too technical language, sometimes it’s a matter of fear of not doing your job if you’re too creative. I like to talk with technicians and push them to force the boundaries. And every time I find so much unexpressed value in those conversations, a real gold mine!


The first is abstract thinking. I’m very influenced by my history of technology and philosophy of technology education background. Abstract thinking helps you to keep thing in motion instead of rushing into the first – often biased and sub-optimal – working solution. Philosophy of technology forces you to search for deep structures in socio-technological systems, these structures help you to go beyond the barriers of hyper specialistic, often fragmented, engineering domains.

The second fundamental tool for me is cross-industry innovation. It’s like: “Ok, I’ve this technical problem, no matter if it’s not so relevant or instead it’s a core problem for this current project. Let me start by searching for an industry where the solution of this problem is a matter of life or death.” It’s always very inspiring and if you stumble twice on the same industry for different problems related to your project, then it’s very likely you’ve found one of those deep structures I mentioned above. Or, even better, you’ve found a new potential market for your idea!

Thirdly, I’m very interested in innovation methodologies. I really appreciate Triz the Russian “theory of inventive problem solving“, but I’m not strictly influenced by a specific methodology, instead I cherry-pick from different approaches depending on the current problem. What I like in innovation methodologies is that they help you not to overestimate the importance of intuition and creativity and to focus instead on the innovation process. When you work with or you meet creative, innovation-driven, interesting people – I’ve the chance of being in this happy situation – you can be overwhelmed by creative ideas. Innovation methodologies help you to channel all this energy.


Three are too many! I don’t have three suggestions. What I can say is that I rarely found such open-minded and true innovation driven attitude as with Magneti Marelli guys. When I started to follow LapTime Club community I was a bit anxious of proposing ideas in such a selective and exclusive domain as professional motorsport. What I feel now that I had the opportunity of discussing by person about my idea is that total outsiders like me are not only welcome, but they can bring in real value from other industries and experiences.

So, my advice is to accept the challenge and propose your idea. Sure, Magneti Marelli tech guys are very demanding and challenging, but what you’d expect? It’s motorsport, after all!


Thank you Cristian for sharing with us your experience and continue to enrich the LapTime Club community with your ideas!

LapTime Club Year in Review: re-live the 2014 final event highlights


December will be remembered and “archived” as an important month for Magneti Marelli’s 2014 always-on research of new innovation roads.

As a matter of fact, after the organization of the first LapTime Club.zip Hackathon in collaboration with The FabLab Milan, the 2014 LapTime Club final event took place the 16th December in Corbetta, Milan. The two Idea Thinkers Cristian Cascetta and Alessandro Sarcina met Magneti Marelli CEO Eugenio Razelli, together with Magneti Marelli Motorsport CEO Roberto Dalla and the company team of Managers & Tech Specialists.

SEE ALSO: Cristian Cascetta: how to use WinTAX to support and enforce rapid decision making while “making sense” of data?

The event has been a great occasion to discover the winning ideas more in-depth, walk through Magneti Marelli Museum and underline the importance for the Motorsport Industry of adopting an open innovation approach.

Experience the photo gallery below, re-live the 2014 LapTimeClub final event highlights through visual contents.

And if 2014 has been an important year, 2015 will be fundamental: LapTime Club has become an always-on Motorsport online laboratory designed to co-generate new ideas in the field of telemetry, electromagnetic and electronic systems, with a specific focus on data and performance analytics. Infotainment, Induction Power Transfer, V2I, Internet of Things, engine efficiency and WinTAX: do not miss the opportunity to publish, share and “enrich” your best ideas across different technical topics.

Take the challenge to be a Motorsport Race Engineer!

Cristian Cascetta: how to use WinTAX to Support and Enforce Rapid Decision Making while “Making Sense” of Data?

After the final selection of LapTime Club’s most innovative ideas - out of the top 7 – and the Top Innovator, keep on listening to the two winning thinkers‘ voices, in order to better understand their ideas and discover a little more about them.

SEE ALSO: Alessandro Sarcina: my LapTime Club idea? Integrating Google Glass and data collection

The second winning idea comes from Cristian Cascetta, a Search Technology Expert who proposes the following suggestion linked to the challenge How internet of things (IOT) could be re-imagined and exploited in the Automotive Industry and racing?.

“In the heat of the race, the only connection between the real-time data stream of telemetry and the technical knowledge about the vehicle is in the head of race technicians.
Decision-making is based on the capability of race tecnician of “making sense” of the real-time data, based on his personal knowledge of the vehicle as a system and as the sum of every single component.
I propose to create a knowledge management system capable of “digesting “all the technical documentation of every single component of the vehicle – third party components tech specs, manuals, annotations coming from technical meetings with the different suppliers – and the technical documentation – including cad drawings, race and test debriefing documents, etc. – created inside the team. Also the race rules and regulations will be part of the knowledge base.
All this massive corpus of information will be immediately searchable and will work as a memory extension for race techicians to support and enforce the rapid decision making… But more interestingly the computer will be able to anticipate the technician questions and queries to the knowledge base presenting in real time a list of link to relevant techincal docs and information based on the actual race context.” Read more…

A great idea, chosen among many others. By the way, Cristian has also stood out as a Top Innovator, for its continuos participation within the community.

Are you curious to know how to support and enforce rapid decision-making and help technicians “making sense” of data? Do not miss the interview focused on Cristian’s experience, dreams and great passion for the world of innovation.


To take the right decisions, race technicians must “make sense” of a huge amount of real-time data, using their experience and their knowledge of the vehicle. All this knowledge is either stored in the head of technicians or “closed” into some of the thousand documents of tech specs, briefing reports, rules and regulations following the racecar history.

My idea is to embed a knowledge management system in WinTAX to open up all this knowledge and make it available to decision makers using Search Technologies. WinTAX users can immediately access the knowledge base, but more importantly, WinTAX can automatically retrieve the most relevant information using triggers based in the real time data coming from sensor by means of a semi-automatic contextual search engine.


As a Search Technology Expert I work with large collections of documents to help people find the information they need, discover unexpected knowledge and make sense of it. And as a racecar and motorsport enthusiast, I absolutely wanted to be part of LapTime Club, so I started thinking of how to use my experience to improve WinTAX.

The key was to think to a racecar not only as a technical artifact, but also as an incredible social object. So many people are involved with it, and they share a huge amount of knowledge through different communication channel. Every communication exchange is an inscription, a document.

Nobody can store all this knowledge in his head and effectively retrieve it in the right moment, expecially in a complex, stressful moment as a race always is. That’s where knowledge management and information retrival come in!


Not at all! That’s what made it such an interesting innovation challenge.

I’m familiar with data analysis tools, but applied to text – as digital humanities instruments – not to numerical data. But I’m also very interested in data visualization techniques, to synthesize huge amount of information in visual, new exploratory ways.


It’s a great approach. Magneti Marelli interpreted open innovation in a great way, I expecially appreciated the mix of challenges proposed to the community, with some very specific technical challenges mixed with “big picture” challenges as team collaboration or simulation. It enables high profile technicians to express their excellence, but also total outsider like me to bring in some knowledge from other industries. So thanks Magneti Marelli for the great opportunity!

Thank you Cristian for your words and your participation. Both Alessandro Sarcina and Cristian Cascetta will meet Magneti Marelli Managers and Tech Specialists in the company’s headquarters on16th December 2014, and will have the chance to explain more in-depth their suggestions.

After the selection of the winning ideas, The LapTime Club continues its road to innovation becoming a permanent Tech laboratory. Don’t miss this great occasions to enter into Magneti Marelli World, while broadening your worldwide network of Tech Innovators and Young Talents. For example, check and participate to the new challenge: what about introducing infotainment in the motorsport industry? Start contributing by posting your best ideas!