With a few rare exceptions, in today's Formula 1 a good part of the overtakings are made under braking. That is why the braking systems have to enable making a complete halt in very limited space. But the ever more intense use of brakes can lead to the discs overheating, resulting in a decline in performance.
To avoid this risk, Brembo engineers introduced radial ventilation holes on the discs. Advanced studies allowed for the progressive increase in the number of holes and a reduction in the dimensions: ten years ago, in 2005, the ventilation holes on a Formula 1 disc counted about 100.
Just three years later, the number of holes doubled, doubling the rows of holes going in the axial direction as well. With Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), or rather, the study of fluid dynamics by means of a computer, and progress in the field of mechanical procedures for carbon, in 2012 the number of ventilation holes for each Brembo brake disc went up to nearly 600 and a third row appeared.
The increased surface on the disc of carbon exposed to the ventilation guarantees improved dispersion of the heat and reduces the operating temperature, which can surpass even a thousand degrees in a Formula 1 braking system. Continuing in this fashion, in the 2014 championship, the Formula 1 single-seaters used discs with more than a thousand ventilation holes. Moreover, Brembo brake discs are not all the same - they are made to optimise the synergy with the air vents of the different single-seaters.
To improve air flow even further, this year the number of ventilation holes in the Brembo discs has arrived at over 1,200. The holes, now positioned in four different rows, each measure 2.5 millimetres in diameter and are made one-by-one by a precision machine. It takes 12 to 14 hours of work to complete the holes on a single disc. At this level, precision is everything: the mechanical component tolerance is only four hundredths.