First of all teams could use AI, more specifically machine learning/deep learning to get better predictions of when best to stop the car to change tyres. These better predictions could happen from very early on in a race and become more and more refined with increasing confidence as the laps count down. Such a model could take a lot more parameters into account than current systems and human strategists already do, but it would have to be possible to introduce human judgement for on-the-fly adjustments of the model – like for example when the radio communications of another team indicate a varied situation from the nominal model, e.g. complaints about vibrations due to a flat spot.
To be clear, what I am suggesting here would require truly incredible amounts of race simulation data with far higher level of information detail and density – and of course far higher real-time compute capacity (which is readily available via the cloud).
With the choice of when to best box the car (yep, they call it “box” … has German origins) the decision what tyres to put on has to be made. Strategies and best tyre choice might very quickly vary from moment to moment, especially when the bulk of other cars are stopping on the same or similar laps, but also as another of many examples, if the weathers is changeable. Weather is an especially interesting aspect here, as AI could be used in many more interesting ways to take local short and medium term weather data into account.
Predicting the weather (and temperatures of air and track) is too much, you might say. If F1 teams could guarantee themselves a 1s per lap advantage by having the tyre choice right I can easily see them spending vast amounts of money to do that. There is of course, as with everything in Formula One, a level at which returns are diminishing, no matter what you spend … so, that has to be kept in mind.
Often enough we see much faster drivers being stuck behind their team mate. They may be faster due to lower tyre-wear, technical issues of the driver ahead or a host of other factors. Often the teams decide to issue team orders, sometimes they don’t, but in all cases it is still up to the driver in front to let their colleague through in a reasonable timeframe. Drivers being racers and wanting to be die-hard competitive winners don’t always obey these orders because they, well, just don’t want to.
Often that harms the teams in terms of constructor’s points scored and usually both team members are worse off. There is a strong human/psychology factor here. Nobody wants to be second, in anything, ever, full stop. And nobody wants to be told by (humans) the team that they are not the favourite child of the moment.