About Us


With over 35 years’ experience in the biggest Formula 1 teams, we have the expertise to help you succeed

Canopy Simulations was founded by Oliver Watkins, James Thurley, and Mark Catherall. We met whilst working at the McLaren Racing F1 team, where Oli and Mark were in the Simulation Development team and James was in the software team. We’d kept in touch after we left McLaren and after dabbling in various other areas we found ourselves all thinking the same thing at the end of 2015, namely that there was a gap in the market for F1-quality simulations and that together we had the skills to fill it. In particular there were two transformative technologies which we wanted to bring to the market; massively parallel computation in the cloud, and collocation.

We started, quite literally, with a blank sheet of paper. Freed from the software legacy which constrains so many parts of the industry we have spent the years since 2016 developing a product which is fit for the modern world. Our first customer was the Manor F1 team, with whom we developed a client-driven operating model, whereby we tailor our development trajectory to the technical needs of each team using the product. This means keeping abreast of all the technical regulations in each series, such that each team can understand the implications of regulatory changes as soon as possible after they are introduced.

Having started with a threadbare product squarely targeted at the needs of our first customers, we now offer the levels of flexibility to simulate race cars in almost any series worldwide. This has helped us to sign up clients in Formula 1, Formula E, Formula 2, Le Mans/WEC and Formula 3/GT. We are also making strides into the North American market, handling the challenges of racing cars with asymmetric setups around oval circuits.

Alongside our motorsport activities we have a long-standing relationship with the British America’s cup entry; Ineos Team UK. Simulating America’s Cup yachts is a fascinating challenge which has pushed our core technology hard; simulating tack, gybes and take-offs has given benefits which have fed back into our core motorsport activities. The America’s Cup project also signposts an exciting future; we’ve developed some excellent technology for motorsport, but there is fantastic potential to apply this technology elsewhere.

The next project we are tackling is to develop Canopy Co-Pilot. This will put our class-leading collocation solver directly in the control loop for a variety of complex systems, but targeted firmly towards limit handling and safe collision avoidance in self-driving cars.


Oli spent ten years at McLaren Racing, five of those as Head of Simulation Development. He has a track record of inventing suspension components and he is our vehicle modelling and simulations expert.

Oli has an MEng and PhD from Cambridge.


Mark spent three years at McLaren Racing before leaving to do a PhD. During his PhD he did five years consulting for Ferrari, on everything from lap time simulations to high-dimensional metamodels.

Mark has an MEng and DPhil from Oxford.


James spent eight years at McLaren Racing, four of those as Principal Software Architect. With experience spanning live telemetry, wind tunnel control, and simulation, he is our infrastructure and cloud computing expert.

James has an MEng from Imperial College.


Rowland spent nine years at McLaren Racing, becoming an expert in correlation, parameterisation and execution of offline and driver in the loop simulations. His mission is to ensure you are extracting maximum value from our platform.

Rowland has an MEng from the University of Bristol.


Alex worked for Mercedes-AMG F1 team as a performance and simulation engineer for three years and was involved in five successful F1 world championship campaigns before joining Canopy. As Simulation Team Leader, he develops simulation tools and is on hand to help clients get the most out of the platform.

Alex has a BEng from the University of Southampton.


Rajive works with the team to develop and improve core simulation features. He has experience in different domains of modelling and simulation, especially in simulation-based testing of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) systems.

Rajive has an MSc in Automotive Mechatronics from Cranfield University and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.


Rob is an experienced full stack software developer, having joined us from S&P Global and Bet365 before that. At Canopy he works alongside James and Steven to enhance and maintain the Canopy platform.

Rob has a Computer Science BSc from the University of Manchester.


Lizzie hails from the media industry, having worked initially in sales, then business development, and later operational roles prior to joining Canopy. She handles administrative matters and client service, enabling the technical team to concentrate on providing best-in-class simulations.


Augustin spent six years at Michelin Motorsport as a performance analyst, working on tyre measurements and thermo-mechanical modelling, off-line and DIL simulation, and on track data analysis. He has experience supporting customers in WRC, Super GT, LMP1 and LMH. He works with Rowland, helping customers get the most from our platform.

Augustin has an MEng from ENSTA ParisTech.


Steven is a full stack software developer, who previously worked in Railway Infrastructure Monitoring for Omnicom Balfour Beatty. At Canopy he works with James and Rob to develop and maintain the Canopy platform.

Steven has an MPhys from the University of Warwick.