Customer Story

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team Accelerates Security Program with CrowdStrike

Formula One™ is a celebration of the extreme: speed, risk, stakes and success. But while the sport is steeped in adrenaline and emotion, it’s grounded in science and math.

The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is among the most dominant forces in F1 today. Recognizing the critical role of technology and data in competition, the team draws 18,000 channels of data on its race cars, measuring everything from pressure and temperature to acceleration and force. Vehicles are equipped with as many as 300 sensors, collectively generating one terabyte of data each race weekend — all of which is transported to the trackside engineering team and the factory in near real time.

“As a team, we generate, process and analyze significant amounts of data very quickly. We must ensure our information systems enable performance while remaining secure,” explains Michael Taylor, IT Director at the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team.

Compounding matters further is the team’s proverbial need for speed. “In F1, performance is everything; time is our biggest challenge and opportunity,” notes Taylor. With CrowdStrike, the F1 team found a partner that understands this distinction. The market leader in cloud-based endpoint detection and response, CrowdStrike has built its reputation on superior protection delivered at stunning speed. And like the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, CrowdStrike is built on a culture of continuous innovation — pushing the boundaries of technology and engineering in pursuit of competitive advantage.

Facts & Figures

Deploy immediately to 100,000+ nodes in a day
Realized efficiency gains
Reduction in resource utilization
Thanks to CrowdStrike we know exactly what we're dealing with, which is a visibility we have never had before.
Rob Thomas , COO
Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

A race to win and a reputation to preserve

While security has become a top concern for every organization, it’s reached a fever pitch for organizations like Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. Its world-class reputation as a leader in the racing industry makes the brand a potential target for digital adversaries.

“We’re an immensely successful team in a global sport representing a prestigious brand, which naturally makes us a target,” says Taylor. “Security is of the utmost importance.”

This focus on security is a relatively recent phenomenon in the F1 world. In today’s threat landscape, risk exists well beyond the racetrack. The team’s intellectual property has implications in a number of industries, which means the organization must take extra precautions to ensure the end-to-end security of its data and trade secrets.

Another challenge in the racing world is mobility. As part of a global sport, the team relocates almost weekly to participate in events in more than 20 countries each year. As such, the company must secure its factory and home office, as well as its on-the-ground team, no matter where in the world it happens to be.

“The world is getting riskier and more dangerous,” cautions Rob Thomas, COO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. “Being aware of the risks and putting processes and systems in place to ensure our security is crucial to our success.”

Leading with intelligence

Like many CrowdStrike clients, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team recognized that it needed outside assistance to develop and deploy an end-to-end security strategy. Taylor explained that part of the appeal of CrowdStrike was its business model. The CrowdStrike Threat Graph® is a proprietary security tool that collects high-fidelity telemetry from millions of endpoints around the globe, analyzing and indexing trillions of events per week for quick and efficient access. In this way, clients like the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team team can monitor their own networks for suspicious activity, while also proactively identifying and responding to threats detected by CrowdStrike on other client networks.

“By analyzing the millions of data points generated by a vast and diverse customer base, often in real time, CrowdStrike can provide our team with a comprehensive and clear picture of exactly what’s happening across the globe, 24/7,” explains Taylor.

CrowdStrike professionals also integrate with the F1 team, acting as strategic advisors, watchdogs and emergency responders. According to Thomas, one of the most helpful aspects of the CrowdStrike relationship is the preparation of an intelligence report before each race. This document outlines the potential threats at each event and what’s being done to proactively neutralize them. It includes specific recommendations for the team, such as which devices may be unsafe to take to the venue or which should be switched off at certain times.

“Thanks to CrowdStrike, we know exactly what we’re dealing with, which is a visibility I never had before,” says Thomas. “That gives me a good deal of comfort.”

CrowdStrike: Superior protection and stunning simplicity

There’s perhaps no greater example of the value of incremental optimization than F1. Each improvement, no matter how small, contributes to the overall speed and performance of the car. Insignificant on their own, these actions taken together enable important efficiency gains, unlocking potential that’s otherwise unachievable through a siloed design approach.

“F1 cars are very sophisticated,” says Willis. “In order to extract the full potential from the car, we operate very close to the theoretical limits to which it’s been designed.”

The team recognized the same capability in CrowdStrike. A revolutionary in the cybersecurity market, CrowdStrike combines the best of both worlds: superior protection and simplicity. The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform leverages a single, lightweight agent to manage the entire threat spectrum. Meanwhile, Falcon’s cloud-native technology enables continuous monitoring of the threat landscape, thus eliminating the need for clients to complete manual scans.

“CrowdStrike ticked every box of our security partner assessment criteria: technically advanced, simple, lightweight and intuitive toolset, shared values and ethos and a brilliant understanding of our business context and challenges,” explains Taylor.

For these reasons, Taylor selected Falcon Complete™, a turnkey solution that delivers continuous protection as a service. As the name implies, Falcon Complete combines four industry-leading capabilities, including prevention, detection and response, IT hygiene, proactive threat hunting, and a 24/7 support team. Through this integrated solution, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team receives the highest level of security maturity delivered immediately, without the burden of building and managing a cybersecurity program or hiring and training staff.

Recognizing the increasing risk of identity-related attacks, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team recently added Falcon Identity Protection to its suite of CrowdStrike products and services. This technology, which natively integrates with Falcon endpoint telemetry, provides full visibility into identity-related attack surfaces, a capability that’s delivered from the same Falcon agent and command console as the team’s other CrowdStrike modules.

“We’re no different from any other organization in that a breach of credentials could have damaging effects for us,” notes Taylor. “Since deploying CrowdStrike Identity Protection, we’ve had a massive uplift in what we can see with regards to credentials, identities, privileged identities, etc. allowing us to keep both our people and business safe.”

Taken together, CrowdStrike gives the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team end-to-end security to protect against modern threats. Scalable and flexible, CrowdStrike solutions are capable of growing with organizations and responding to an increasingly complex threat landscape. Finally, the combination of cloud-native technology and a single,
lightweight agent make CrowdStrike an effective and efficient solution without compromising speed or performance.

“CrowdStrike is a dotted line extension of our IT department, delivering a key capability efficiently and effectively,” concludes Taylor.