In the past couple of years, we witnessed a trend of Formula 1 teams engaging supercomputers of impressive magnitude. Designing most efficient vehicles on the planet sprung a lot of investment in wind tunnel and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) areas.
In a video released by AT&T WilliamsF1 Renault team, Jason Somerville (Head of Aerodynamics) explains the details behind their wind tunnel, which recently received an upgrade from 50% to 60% in size. Even though one might argue that the difference in size is negligible, the fact of the matter is that 60% models offer much greater detail than original 50% models, increasing the demand for computational power as well.
AT&T WilliamsF1 Renault team was one of first teams to deploy a supercomputer from Compaq Computer Corporation. It was based on Alpha processors, but in 2007, the company later adopted a powerful and more importantly, scalable supercomputer from Lenovo http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1007500/williams–f1-team-get-a-top-125-super-computer. It may sound quite funny, but the overall compute power of that supercomputer is less than you can theoretically put in your home computer (CrossfireX with two PowerColor HD 7990 Devil13 cards). The team is now on its third supercomputer (unknown specifications, not publicly benchmarked), and it looks like three is the magic number, as that computer helped them to win a Grand Prix this year, with Pastor Maldonado winning in Barcelona (Spanish Grand Prix).
You can see the video here: