Thrilling turns with the risk of friction material glazing if it rains at the Formula 1 Great Britain GP

7/12/2017

 Brakes will not be used much at the Silverstone Circuit, but look out for rain

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone (Great Britain) - where the World Championship started all the way back in 1950 - for the 10th appointment of the 2017 World Championship. At 52° North Latitude, the English track is the closest to the North Pole of any in the championship.


 

The Silverstone Circuit has already hosted 50 Formula 1 World Championship races, but only 7 in its current configuration.

Despite the addition of several curves in the '70s designed to reduce speed, last year the average speed for the pole position was 237 km/h, outdoing the 236 km/h achieved in 1979.

The track is full of high-speed turns, and the single-seaters do not even need to use their brakes for 10 of the bends. There are two really intense braking sessions, both of which are the result of changes made to the track over the past 30 years.

The low energy at play, however, may result in glazing of the friction material, in the event of rain or if temperatures dip rapidly.

In such conditions, in fact, the carbon discs and brake pads may cool too much, and would no longer guarantee the friction needed for drivers to brake the way they are used to doing.

According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 20 tracks in the World Championship on a scale of 1 to 10, the Silverstone Circuit is one of the least demanding on the brakes.

The British racetrack earned a difficulty index of 4, on par with Suzuka and Interlagos.

 

 
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The demand on the brakes during the GP

With every lap, brakes are used 8 times, but in 3 of the bends drivers rely on their brakes for less than 7 tenths of a second.

All told, the braking system is used for 11 and a half seconds in each lap, amounting to 13% of the entire duration of the race.

Even maximum deceleration is affected by the reduced need to slam on the brakes: the average value per lap is 3.6 g due to Maggots (curve 10) and the curve right after, since deceleration does not even get to 3 g for either of these bends.

All this means that only a moderate amount of energy is dissipated in braking compared to other tracks: 76 kWh, half as much as the Barcelona track and a little less than a third compared to Sochi.

From the starting line to the finish line, each driver will exert a total load of 46 metric tons on the brake pedal, or 3 and a half times the weight of a typical London double-decker bus full of passengers.


 

The most demanding braking sections

Of the 8 braking sections at the Silverstone Circuit, 2 are classified as demanding on the brakes, 2 are of medium difficulty and 4 are light. The most difficult corner for the braking system is at turn 16: the single-seaters arrive going 284 km/h and in just 2.3 seconds, they take it down to 101 km/h.

To do this, drivers apply a load of 162 kg on the brake pedal and undergo a deceleration of 4.6 g. While braking, the vehicles travel 52 meters, less than the length of the new screen that will be installed at Piccadilly Circus this autumn.
On the other hand, deceleration is 4.7 g at curve 3 (Village): the braking session is longer both in terms of time (2.41 seconds) and distance (53 meters), but the load on the brake pedal to drop from 295 km/h to 109 km/h is "only" 154 kg.

At Brooklands (curve 6) the single-seaters arrive at 320 km/h but enter the curve at 164 km/h after 2.03 seconds of braking. Deceleration is 4.3 g, four times that of the Jaguar XKR-S GT, which uses Brembo carbon-ceramic discs as standard equipment.


 

Brembo performance

Single-seaters with Brembo brakes have won 18 of the 40 Great Britain GP races they took part in, including 2 GP in Brands Hatch. The team to have won most often is Ferrari, with 9 victories, but their last win was in 2011.

Lewis Hamilton has won the past 3 editions with Mercedes.


 

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

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