A closer look at how the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is powered by BlackBerry

By Adam Zeis on 9 Jun 2014 08:20 am EDT

Within the Formula 1 MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team organization, there are BlackBerry devices all over the place. Hundreds of team members use them to communicate on a daily basis, and the 60+ team members that travel the globe during the season really put their devices to the ultimate test. BlackBerry helps to give them a solid ground of communication and security whether at home or on the road, and Matt Harris, who runs IT for the Mercedes MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team, took some time to shed a bit of insight into how BlackBerry helps keep them moving.

Matt looks over all of the BlackBerry and non BlackBerry devices deployed with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS organization. From Z10's to Q10's to Z30's, there are over 200 BlackBerry devices running on BES10. In addition, there are around 20 devices that include iPads and other mobile phones, and awesomely enough, still a good deal of PlayBook users as well. Many of the users are already on the Z30, but Matt says the goal is to get everyone on the Z30 soon. They've also just started to check out BES12 which Matt hasn't even had a chance to see yet, but is definitely looking forward to trying out.

While they started out with everyone on the Z10, Matt notes that it has "aged quickly" and wants to move everyone to the Z30 "as quick as we possibly can". He notes that the Z30 is a marked improvement over the Z10, and praises the battery life as the biggest feature. Even so, there are still many on the team that carry external battery packs to stay charged on the go — showing just how much use their BlackBerry devices see during the day.

There are also some die-hard keyboard lovers that refuse to give up their Q10's in favor of the Z30, but Matt says that's ok. He thinks the upcoming BlackBerry Classic will be a great fit for those who need a physical keyboard. The lucky folks at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS will also get a sneak peek at some newer devices (under NDA of course) that are coming later this year so they can better see what their upgrade options will be going forward.

On top of battery life being a big seller, security is the number one concern — and the reason that MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS chose to go with BlackBerry. With so many people using devices daily, everything on the devices needs to stay secure — even if they're misplaced or stolen. "People were still able to communicate and we could trust the fact that the data was secure. If they lost the phone, we knew that the phone was secure," Matt says.

We haven't got that same warm fuzzy feeling from the other vendors

Security has always been a top feature for the team. They previously used Bold and Curve devices on BES5 before moving to their current setup. "We basically picked BlackBerry because of the security aspect," Matt says, "we haven't got that same warm fuzzy feeling from the other vendors."

As you would expect, BBM also plays a huge role in how the team communicates and gets things done — and there is a "huge amount of communication over BBM." They used BBM and BBM Groups "considerably" for everything from chatting to scheduling to diagnosing technical issues on the fly. There are typically just two IT members that travel with the team, but everyone is accessible via BBM if something should come up. Matt says they can start out with a simple chat, then escalate to a group chat, or onto a video chat so they can remotely see an issue that needs help.

Even something like schedule scheduling is "harder than you think" according to Matt. Getting everyone on the bus, to the track on time or even finding someone down in the pit lane — BBM is a huge help. They use BBM almost constantly to stay in touch, as trying to keep track of so many people, or even know who got a message, can be a near impossible task at times. With BBM, Matt says "you know it's delivered, you know it's been read."

Many thanks to Matt Harris for taking the time to chat with us. We certainly look forward to getting some more details when BES12 is in full swing and Lewis and Nico have some great new devices to play with!

Topics: F1 Editorial

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

A closer look at how the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is powered by BlackBerry


Go BlackBerry and go Formula 1. Just wish the sport was more accessible to watch. The FIA and Bernie Eccelstone are greedy bastards. Much love blackberry!

Right... because Apple never has huge marketing campaigns, all word of mouth...right.

Triple D's 4G on BB! 

Latest iPhone commercials are about 1 minute long! And it shows making a movie, using an accessory (not available yet) to make music and a girl singing a song "gigantic".

So what was that about not advertising?

BlackBerry and Mercedes actually demonstrate unique features of BlackBerry and BBM. I follow Mercedes F1 very closely thanks to the BBM channel.

Posted Via CB10 on my Zed 30

For whatever reason I can't stand that song. Maybe because it is so pretentious like every Apple commercial.

Z10 with OS

Totally agree with you! If my PVR doesn't record a race at 3:55am there is no way for me to see a race thanks to FiA.

Thanks to TSN (and BlackBerry for paying them to) started to carry F1 racing in Canada last year. I had such a hard time trying to keep touch on F1 before that, that it made me lose interest for many years!

Posted Via CB10 on my Zed 30

TSN has always broadcasted F1 races in Canada. And TSN2 has usually done reruns if the race was too early in the morning. They did not just start broadcasting them last year.

Posted via CB10

Ooh! I don't know how I missed it then! Thanks for the information

Posted Via CB10 on my Zed 30

So true. This was the first F1 race I actually sat to watch and the whole time I couldn't believe that I was enjoying it! I didn't want to change the channel from start to finish!

Simply amazing. I felt so proud seeing the BlackBerry logo. It was like a metaphor for the way BlackBerry has excellent tech and staff but sometimes things go wrong and you just have to stay the course, hold your position, believe in yourself. Good job Rosberg. Well done everyone at team Mercedes. Thanks to Crackberry for a great introduction to this sport that I ignored for too long.

You picked a good race to watch as your first one, that was the best race for the win so far this year because the Mercedes cars were slowed to the same speed as the chasing pack by their power problems.

Interesting to read that the team were already a BlackBerry shop before the sponsorship deal and before BES10. Makes sense from a data leak prevention point of view, it's a fiercely competitive sport and there are many secrets that must be kept from prying eyes.

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 / on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.2

For real! They have all the component. They just need someone who has a clue of how to market consumer electronics.

Funny how that marketing word shows up again......most consumers would know that Microsoft is in the formula business, BlackBerry not so sure, let alone BlackBerry leading the way. On another note, this reinforces the fact that the z30 dominates the z10.

Posted via CB10

Very entertaining race yesterday! Too bad Hamilton didn't finish. #PoweredByBlackberry

CB10 Z30STA100-5/

BlackBerry should use this in a few commercials and market this! They actually make good devices, but you would never know this...

From the mind of a mAnIaC

cool Story... so I think Blackberry is ideal for Business Use... No other Operating System is as good as BB OS 10... and with 10.3.1 it becomes better and better... and like the story tells... z30 is a beast because of his battery... goooooooo for it

I'm not sure I agree that the Z10 has aged that quickly. It works just as well as it did when I got it at launch, even better thanks to updates.



Especially the battery life. It's gone through the roof with all the recent updates. Very pleased with my Z10.

Posted via CB10

I love my Z10, it's the perfect size. I hoping BlackBerry is planning the next generation Z10 with better specs and a kick ass battery.

Posted via CB10

I'd also like to see this. I have the Z30 now because of the USB-OTG and battery life. Had the Z10 had these, I wouldn't have switched. I'm happy I made the choice but the smaller Z10 was just the right size for me. I had an easier time doing everything one handed.

Posted via CB10

Same here. I've tested the Z30, but it's just too big for me. Z10 is the right size for me.
I'd sign for a Z11 (of whatever) anytime. I hope there's one on the roadmap somewhere.

I do not agree with the guy's statement that the Z10 "aged quickly". I still use mine as much as I did when I got it more than a year ago. I think this says enough about the overall quality of the device.

Me too. I love my z10 for size, performance and so on, and I actually don't find the battery an issue, and it certainly does perform like the day I got it.

However I'll never say no to more battery life, and I'd love a follow up, maybe a smidge larger (vertical) screen, more battery life, and that's about it. I'm pretty happy with it, even 18 months + on, I have no interest in replacing it. It's excellent.

I just wish I had more people around me with Blackberries so I could make better use of BBM etc

Posted via CB10

Cheng, please listen to this guy. We love Z10. And for me the draw back just battery live. Maybe you can make Z10 size phone with 2300 mAh battery plus battery saving mode feature.

Very nice! That's why BlackBerry is the best. In F1 you are not joking you have a hard work to do and with toys you can not do it. That's why you need a tool : BlackBerry!

Proudly Z10 owner

Moved up to z30 from z10. Battery life is amazing. USB host controller is fantastic to have.

Great marketing story!

Posted via CB10

I have a Z30 (personal) and a Z10 (work) and the Z30 just beats the Z10 on all aspects. People think it's big but what i do to show them that it's not is I put the Z10 or their own phone inside the Z30's slim protective case and they can see that it's not that much bigger and then I turn on both screens and POW!!! They are amazed at the difference.

I don't need cutting edge tech on my phone but this is why BlackBerry needs to at least keep up with the median. Saying the Z10 has aged quickly is not good and it only has because it was packed with last years technology. My 9900 aged really quickly as well and I am worried the Z30 will too. It is not just for show. You want people to see value in their long term purchase.

That articles backs why JC is releasing the Q phones this year and waiting on the Z replacements for early next year. I love that a prominent team is supporting BlackBerry. They need more visible advertising like this F1 team. Oh and the race was pretty damn good.

Posted via Z30

That's race was awesome and its good to see an article like this- Mercedes are so successful at the moment blackberry really should be using it! And a nice official Bb10 f1 app wouldn't go amiss either.....
Posted via CrackBerry App

Wondering myself why there is no nice official F1 BlackBerry App? With such a partnership mercedes/blackberry there should be at least one kick-ass BB10 App with live-timing and stats

RedBerry Z10 #00167

This is what we need. And a cool Augmented reality App that gives us specs on the cars extra

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10

Is that all they use BlackBerry for? Do they not use QNX for their car telemetry or other more inbeded uses?

Posted via CB10

That's their opinion on Z10. It has aged quickly. I will upgrade to a better z? With improve camera and display.

Posted via CB10Z10

My Z10 has aged pretty well will several OS updates. It's still an iPhone killer.

Posted via CB10

Z10 is very popular in my family and friends. But I completely love my Z30! In our company we use Q10, Z10 and Z30.

Posted via CB10

I can see it: Blackberry Mercedes Special Edition Phone........... Silver metal casing, with the silver star engraved somewhere on it.
And ya, an add featuring how BB10 phones get things going in and around the F1 operation of Mercedes is the way to go. Might get the question "People still use Blackberry?" squashed a bit.

I saw Hamilton using a iPhone too...
Guys don't think the whole Mercedes Team is using/or/just using BlackBerry.
It's not the case.
Lauda is also not using a BlackBerry.


It was great to see the Benoit's z30 up close and in person. What a phone! Great time in Montreal, much props to the Crackberry team, let's do it again next year!

Posted via CB10

Was the dude in the pic wearing an IWC Ingenieur? No idea if that means everyone on their team gets to slap one on their wrist. Lucky guys being supported by blackberry and IWC.

Posted via CB10

My Z10 works well for me but I can understand why the Z30--with its much longer lasting battery--is much better for the Mercedes team.

Having to replace a battery and reboot the Z10 generally won't affect me to a great extent.

But having to do that during a race, practice session, or qualifying session could be a serious hindrance for a F1 race team member.

Good article. Products are improved in the trenches of real life. Find the weaknesses, solve them and move on to the next. This is really important for all products.

Posted via CB10

What about QNX? Is it being use for the car. That's something else that needs to be marketed. Don't know why we jot seeing and love from the marketing department.

If we don't grow our share, we ain't going to get development.

And goodbye app development

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10

Awesome race couldn't stop watching. BlackBerry all over TV. The most usa blackberry exposure in a long time. Still love my z10 but what do I expect it's F1 they need and deserve z30's

Vtecberry Z10

Made for a good read. And I kind of agree that Z10 aged quickly.. may be due to its limiting hardware and measly battery life.. I switched to Z30 within 6 months of using Z10..

Posted via CB10 on my Z30

To bad BlackBerry doesn't market the real time aspects inherent to BB10 and QNX...show a Z-30 being plugged into the F1 car and show some really cool engine graphics. Then find a working Android CANBUS app for Z-30 and show that plugged into some Honda rice rocket..doesn't have to push the envelope..just market to some real-time developer's to get them thinking.

From what I've seen, it ain't going to matter, except BlackBerry need to bring it on, Quickly....

Like the F1 team, they need to deliver fast, really fast.

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10

I have had my Z10 for over a year from the cellular provider.

For some reason I see a lot of Jamaican Customs officers who use Z10's, what is sad is that they are either not running the latest update or running an imported model (STL100-2 etc)

The amount of OMG moments I have had when I show them stuff like "pinch to show unread emails" or create folders for games or screen shots by pressing vol up&down or showing the Porsche clock on older update versions or post a tweet from search or showing the "peek" from Hub or editing documents from docs to go or.....well u get the picture...

Z10, official Digicel

Just based on this article I am becoming a bigger Mercedes fan!

I have on the docket to check out Mercedes cars and maybe buy one but I am happy that they see the BlackBerry value and... maybe there will be tighter integration in their cars :)

Powered by BB

Great piece. As others have commented, BB should develop some marketing to advertise this...F1 is considered the most high tech of all sports, good fit.

All well and good! but BBRY needs to replicate some of their enthusiasm in consumer market as well so that they can regain some of their past glory and they have excellent products on heir hands! no need to worry on that score BBRY just needs to put in some really smart efforts in marketing.Here in India they still remain popular so much so that there are few a brands in clothesline and mobile as well having BB name(carrying misspelling off course!!) inspite of the dowdy marketing efforts on the part of BB India

there is some 2680 mAh.batteries on Ebay.ca .i,m testing it right now but really seems to make a difference. the size of Z10 is just perfect .......

This title is SOOO misleading. I really thought I'd be reading an article about just how BB10 is actually USED by the Petronas team ... what features actually help them daily and uniquely ... not just a generic blurb.