Record speed and energy dissipated in braking for Formula 1 cars at the Mexican GP


Lots of braking at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez

After the recent race in the United States, the Formula 1 cars will remain on the continent for the 18th competition in the 2017 World Championship being held October 27-29 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

The track is named for the Rodriguez brothers, Ricardo and Pedro, both Formula 1 drivers who lost their lives prematurely in track accidents.


Brembo has three production plants in Mexico: Puebla, Apodaca and Escobedo. Inaugurated twelve months ago, the plant in Escobedo extends across more than 377,000 square feet and can produce 2 million aluminum calipers every year.

Although the circuit is located 7,313 feet above sea level, the altitude doesn't cause any problems for the braking system. What does put the system to the test are the velocity spikes: Last year the two Ferrari cars reached 228 mph.

Besides speed, the temperature of the tarmac can have a big influence on the temperature of the discs and calipers. During last year's race, these never got up to 68°F but in the second free practice, they did hit 80.6°F. The increase in grip on the tarmac during the race weekend typically leads to a rise in the amount of braking torque discharged to the ground.

What's more, this year's new shape of the single-seaters results in even more braking torque than in the past.

According to Brembo technicians, who have ranked the 20 World Champion circuits on a scale of 1 to 10, Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is very demanding on the brakes.

The Mexican track earned a 10 on the difficulty index, which is identical to the circuits in Montreal, Abu Dhabi and Singapore.



Brake use during the GP

The brakes are used on nine of the 17 corners on the track, and in the first section, brake use is especially intense due to being able to use the DRS on two different straightaways.

On average over the course of one lap, each single-seater applies the brakes for 16 seconds, which is 21% of the overall duration of the race.

The winding central and final sections of the track contribute to lowering the average peak deceleration per lap, which doesn't exceed 3.4 G and is the second lowest value in the World Championship, after the 3.3 G at Suzuka.

Even in Monaco the average peak deceleration per lap reaches 3.6 G. The energy dissipated in braking throughout the GP by one single-seater however, is the highest for the entire season: 275 kWh, almost four times that of the British GP and more than the sum of the USA GP and the Brazilian GP together.

The load applied to the brake pedal by each driver from the starting line to the checkered flag is average for the World Championship: 62 tons, just about that of the Italian GP, another race where the single-seaters reach impressive speeds.


The most challenging braking sections

Of the nine braking sections on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, none are classified by the Brembo technicians as challenging, six are of medium difficulty and three are light.

The most demanding over all is on the first corner after the finish because the single-seaters go from 220 mph to 66 mph in barely 77 yards. To perform like this, the drivers apply a load of 249 lbs on the brake pedal for a total of 2.85 seconds during which they experience a deceleration of 4.2 G. On turn 4, which also follows a straight where the drivers can use the DRS, they need 3.01 seconds more so as not to enter it outside the racing line.

The cars arrive going 209 mph and slow down to 58 mph by applying a load of 245 lbs on the brake pedal. But only 1.98 seconds and 57 yards are needed to go uphill on turn 12 and reduce the speed from 195 mph to 83 mph. The 4 G in deceleration proves that the braking here shouldn't be underrated, just like the 240-pound load on the brake pedal.

On the stretch between turns 4 and 10 though, the drivers use their brakes only three times and never for more than 28 yards. But none of these three braking sections require a drop in speed measuring more than 62 mph.


Brembo performance

Single-seaters with Brembo brakes have won five of the last nine Mexican GP races they have participated in.

Only Mercedes has managed to win two races in a row. Lewis Hamilton is the only active driver to have ever earned pole position and to have won on this track.


Brembo S.p.A. | P.IVA 00222620163

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