How to gage braking and acceleration in the Japanese GP


 Short guide to braking at Suzuka and Brembo brake pads for Formula 1 and road cars

​​Two weeks after the MotoGP championship, Formula 1 is also returning to Japan where it hadn’t been held since 2019 when the Land of the Rising Sun was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Suzuka International Racing Course is classified as a circuit that is not very demanding on the brakes: on a scale of 1 to 5, it is rated 2 on the difficulty index. 

Formula 1 made its debut on this track in 1987, but the Honda-owned circuit celebrates its 60th birthday this year. In August it was used for the Suzuka 8 Hours which was won by the home team. The first few times it was held, various single-seaters were forced to withdraw due to problems with the brakes, a problem which seems to have been resolved even if in 2019 two single-seaters were disqualified for having adjusted the brake balance electronically. ​

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300 grams (0.66 lb) of brake pads ​ ​​​​​ ​​


In addition to aluminum alloy calipers and carbon fiber discs, Brembo supplies the teams with brake pads, also made of carbon fiber: every team uses up to 600 per season. There are at least 2 different types of material and the same number of geometries are used with a total of 4 possible combinations for both the front and rear brakes. Each team uses a specially designed pad which perfectly matches the geometry of the Brembo caliper used. 

The length of each pad ranges from 160 to 190 mm (6.3 to 7.4 in.) and the surface area from 50 to 90 cm2 (16.6 to 35.4 sq. inches) whereas the weight varies from 150 to 300 grams (0.3 to 0.66 lb). The pads have a friction coefficient of roughly 0.5 and the operating temperature is the same as the discs but unlike these, the thermal conductivity is reduced in order not to transfer the heat generated by the friction to the caliper that contains them​. 



Sport pads for road vehicles ​

Thanks to the experience it has gained in 47 years of Formula 1 and its partnership with car manufacturers, Brembo has developed a range of brake pads for street-legal cars which guarantee maximum safety when braking. These include the Sport/HP2000 pads designed and tested for a predominantly sporty road use. 

This is a product that is designed for drivers with sports ambitions and those who want the maximum from their cars. The Sport/HP2000 pads offer outstanding performance even without warming up and at low speeds thanks to a special material that ensures constant friction at all temperature ranges. ​

Find out more about these Brembo pads.​






Nine very short braking moments ​

Like all tracks which are very drivable, the Suzuka International Racing Course has fast corners where use of the brakes:is almost insignificant: they are not used at all on half of the 18 turns and on another 3, the braking distance does not even reach 50 meters (164 feet) and the brakes are used for less than 12 seconds per lap, the equivalent of 13% of the entire GP. 

There are only two braking episodes where the speed drops by over 170 km/h (105.6 mph) and both take 2.3 seconds to be completed. The values on turn 9, named after Ernst Degner, are slightly lower but the corner requires 4.3 G of deceleration and 133 kg (293 lb) of load on the brake pedal. From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver exerts a total load of 38 metric tons on the brake pedal. ​


The quickest 100 meters ​ ​

Of the 9 braking points at the Suzuka International Racing Course, only 2 are classified by Brembo technicians as highly demanding on the brakes, one is of medium difficulty and the remaining 6 are light. 

The most challenging by far is Turn 16, where the cars go from 273 km/h (169 mph) to 85 km/h (52.8 mph) in just 100 meters (109 yards). During the 2.33 seconds when the brakes are operating, the drivers apply a 139 kg (306 lb) load on the pedal and are subject to a peak deceleration of 4.7 G.



And what about the video games?​


To brake perfectly on turn 16 in the Formula 1 video game you need to keep a cool head. As soon as you have gone past the 150 meter sign, press hard on the brake pedal and move down into 2nd gear. Make sure you’re not caught out by the curb by turning right into what is not a strip of tarmac but is not used by the single-seaters. You must only turn near the curb where there is a plastic post inside it on the grass. Make sure you use the right amount of throttle on the chicane to avoid getting into a spin.​