HOW POWER-UNITS HAVE CHANGED FORMULA 1 BRAKES

3/13/2017

The increase in weight and horsepower of the Formula 1 cars called for rethinking the braking systems

 

When motor sport regulations change, the risk of facing the new season unprepared becomes quite possible. It only takes underestimating a single variable or not giving the right measure of importance to just one of the elements involved to be left behind.

This was most aptly demonstrated in Formula 1 when, at the end of 2013, Power Units were introduced and turbocharged engines reappeared. This was an epic turning point that conditioned how the braking systems operated and called for Brembo to develop new technical solutions.
Fortunately, Brembo holds a secret to successfully building increasingly state-of-the-art braking systems that manage to become the industry standard time after time: each year, the company invests a sizeable portion of its turnover - 5% - in Research & Development, dedicating 10% of the staff, as explained on its website www.brembo.com  .

Considering that Brembo has 9,000 employees worldwide, a percentage this high of engineers and product specialists who are tasked daily with studying and fine tuning increasingly safe products that offer the highest levels of performance proves that Brembo firmly believes in the infinite possibilities the future will bring.

So, let's take a look at the evolution of Formula 1 cars over the last three years as regards the power units, paying special attention to the brakes and their output .


 

                 

YEAR ONE: ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE

With the introduction of Power Units, in mere months the single-seaters went from 750 hp (estimate at the end of 2013) to 850 hp (2014 World Championship). Also, a new regulation imposed an increase in the minimum weight of the cars: from 642 kg in 2013 to 691 in the subsequent championship.

Both of these changes led to significant repercussions on the braking system, which experienced much greater stress than in the previous year. Additionally, when the ERS was introduced, flanked by the KERS, the rear portion of the braking system had to be redesigned.

To ensure proper braking action on the rear axle, Brake-By-Wire (BBW) technology came into play. This assisted braking system activated by the rear system takes braking away from the driver and entrusts it to an electronic control unit.

Increased braking distribution on the rear axle, on the other hand, led Brembo to decrease the diameter and thickness of the rear brake discs in order to accommodate the reduced amount of energy in the rear that needed to be dissipated.

2014 RESULTS: 19 VICTORIES, 18 POLE POSITIONS, 16 FASTEST LAPS, 45 PODIUMS AND 1,083 LAPS LED.


 

YEAR TWO: PROVE YOURSELF

In 2015, the minimum weight of the Formula 1 single-seaters was raised again, taking it to 702 kg, and more chiselled tyres were introduced.

Yet the drivers managed to extract even more power from their engines, guaranteeing nearly 900 hp. Obviously all of this obligated the brake producers to put the braking systems back on the design table and adjust them to the new requirements of the single-seaters.

To improve the cooling method for the carbon brake discs, which can reach 1,200°C in Formula 1, Brembo increased the number of ventilation holes from 1,000 to 1,200 while at the same time reducing the dimensions.

Naturally, ventilation was adapted to the specific needs of the different single-seaters in order to best match the air intakes used by the various teams. The more efficient brake calipers in aluminium/lithium that Brembo produced through mechanical machining lasting more than 14 consecutive hours represent the perfect balance between weight and stiffness.

In addition to this, Brembo introduced a new friction material. Using CER 300 as the material for the discs contributed to significantly reducing wear while ensuring more effective thermal conductivity and less warm-up time. The pads also saw change as the ventilated CCR 700 pads were launched.

2015 RESULTS: 19 VICTORIES, 19 POLE POSITIONS, 19 FASTEST LAPS, 51 PODIUMS AND 1,129 LAPS LED

 

 
 

YEAR THREE: EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN THREES

The 2016 season was fairly stable as far as technical regulations, but it stands out for yet another increase in power: the Mercedes Power Units were credited by most observers as delivering 950 hp.

It was not a coincidence that last November in Mexico, several cars reach speeds of up to 370 km/h. To adapt to the growing levels of power and the new aerodynamic solutions developed by designers, Brembo continued to collaborate with the individual teams to customise the braking systems.

Indeed, the teams increasingly request braking systems that are tailor-made and liable to continuous development over the course of the season.

By fine tuning the single elements, Brembo has produced lighter and more compact components that guarantee improved performance.

To satisfy the requests of the teams, even the ventilation holes on the pads have been customised, reaching a total of about 80 per pad.

2016 RESULTS: 21 VICTORIES, 21 POLE POSITIONS, 19 FASTEST LAPS, 60 PODIUMS AND 1,268 LAPS LED .


 
 

FINAL RESULTS

Since the Power Units were introduced, 59 GP races have been contended for a total of 3,551 race laps.

a) Single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes won all 59 GP races: percentage 100 %

b) Single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes held 58 pole positions: percentage 98,31 %

c) Single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes secured 54 fastest laps: percentage 91,53 %

d) Single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes stood on 156 podiums: percentage 88,14 %

e) Single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes led 3,480 laps: percentage 98 %

The majority of this success was down to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s performance over the past three years. In this period, the Silver Arrows achieved an impressive 51 victories, 56 pole positions, 34 fastest laps, 96 podiums and 2,968 laps led.


 

But Brembo also contributed to this success with its long-standing experience in Formula 1 where it has been uninterruptedly active ever since 1975. The rules are scheduled to be revolutionised yet again with an increase in the size of the single-seaters and the tyres.

The width of the wings and the dimensions of the rear diffuser will also go up and the vehicles will carry 5 more kilogrammes of fuel. T Once again, all of this will greatly affect the braking systems. In fact, the Brembo engineers are already working hard on developing the most suitable solutions for the new properties of the 2017 single-seaters.

To find out more about what can be expected in terms of the brakes for the 2017 season, we ask that you wait patiently until March when we will be able to reveal all the new features Brembo has in store for the upcoming race season.

 

 

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

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