In the Monaco GP, 870 braking points per head. Mind the tunnel


 The Brembo brakes, the Monte Carlo throttle-off moments, and the difference between carbon and carbon ceramic.


According to Brembo technicians, the Monaco Circuit falls into the category of tracks that present an average challenge for the brakes. On a difficulty index scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3, exactly the same as the tracks of the last three races. 

The circuit, that winds its way around the streets of the Principality, stands out for its high aerodynamic load and the considerable percentage of braking time. The calipers and brake fluid reach high temperatures and vapor lock was a common phenomenon in the past, causing the lengthening of the brake pedal action. ​

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Brembo carbon doesn’t melt at 3,000°C (5,430°F)​​​

Carbon discs began to be used in Formula 1 in the 1980s, and then spread into other motorsport competitions too. Indeed, no other element offers that special combination of light weight, high thermal conductivity and absence of dilation, even at 1,000°C (1,832°F), that distinguishes Brembo’s F1 discs. 

The density of carbon is 1.7 grams (0.06 oz) per cubic centimeter, compared with 7.8 grams (0.28 oz) for steel and 7.3 grams (0.25 oz) for gray cast iron. Its thermal expansion coefficient is one fifteenth that of steel and one eleventh that of cast iron. The melting point of carbon is higher than 3,000°C (5,430°F), compared with the 1,200°C (2,190°F) of cast iron and 1,800°C (3,270°F) of steel. ​




On the road, 3 meters (3.3 yards) make all the difference​

Carbon discs aren’t suitable for road use, mainly because the braking system doesn’t reach the minimum operating temperatures needed, but also due to their high consumption. Some of their benefits, however, can be found in the carbon ceramic discs of which Brembo, via Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes – a joint venture with SGL Group – is the main worldwide manufacturer. 

Carbon ceramic discs allow a saving of 5-6 kg (11-13 lb) in weight compared with traditional cast iron discs. What’s more, their lifespan may even equal that of the vehicle they’re mounted on, depending on how it’s driven. But, above all, carbon ceramic guarantees a reduction of about 3 meters (3.3 yards) in the braking distance from 100 km/h to 0 km/h (62 mph - 0 mph) compared with a traditional disc. ​

Discover all the benefits of carbon ceramic discs.​


A good 870 braking points per head​

Despite being the shortest World Championship track at just 3,337 meters (3,650 yards), the Monaco Circuit has 11 braking points per lap (although only one of them is particularly intense). On four bends, the brakes need to be used for no more than 1.1 second. The drivers use their brakes for 18.7 seconds, corresponding to 27% of the total race time. 

Notwithstanding the 7 braking points per lap where the load on the pedal is less than 90 kg (198 lb), the overall load exerted by each driver from the starting line to the checkered flag is more than 62 metric tons. Only in Singapore is the figure higher than this. It also has to be said that the braking system is used about 870 times on the Monaco track, from start to finish.​ ​




Coming out of the tunnel, the deceleration is 4.6 G ​ ​

Of the 11 braking sections of the Monaco Circuit, 2 are classified as very demanding on the brakes, another 2 are of medium difficulty, and the remaining 7 are light. 

The hardest for the braking system is the one that comes after the tunnel (bend 10): the single-seaters arrive at 307 km/h (191 mph) and have to get down to 90 km/h (56 mph) in the space of just 121 meters (132 yards). To do this, the drivers brake for 2.47 seconds, applying a load of 146 kg (322 lb) on the brake pedal and undergoing a deceleration of 4.6 G. ​