The 2019 Formula 1 Chinese GP according to Brembo


 An in-depth look at the braking systems on the Formula 1 single-seaters at the Shanghai International Circuit

​​​​​​​​From April 12 to 14, the Shanghai International Circuit will host the 3rd race of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. The track was designed by architects Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl on swampland, which is why 40,000 stone pillars were positioned underneath before construction started, creating a stable foundation.

In the 2017 Chinese GP, a good 54 overtakings were registered. Contributing to this feat were two straightaways on the track, one at the finish line measuring over 835 yards and another about 1,314 yards long, which allow drivers to make use of the DRS. The track also has five second-gear corners that can be taken well only if the car has a significant aerodynamic load.

The circuit as a whole is not particularly demanding on the brakes, especially because the cars are usually at maximum aerodynamic load. According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 21 tracks in the World Championship on a scale of 1 to 5, the Shanghai International Circuit falls into the category of circuits that present mid-level difficulty for brakes.

The Chinese track earned a 3 on the difficulty index, identical to the score given to Melbourne, Barcelona and Monaco circuits.

Each team that uses Brembo products is supplied with a tailor-made braking system. The brake calipers were completely redesigned for each of the supplied teams. The idea is to integrate it with the aerodynamic solutions researched by each team, working towards maintaining optimal lightweightness and stiffness​.



The demand on the brakes during the GP

Even though this track is longer than the one in Melbourne by just 147 meters (482 feet), the Shanghai International Circuit requires drivers to turn to the brakes more often, using them for almost 18 seconds per lap.

This translates into a lap time that is a good 10 seconds more than the time registered on the Australian track, where instead the brakes are used for just 13 seconds.​ ​

This value is very high in percentual​ terms, yet it is lower than what was recorded at a lot of the other World Championship tracks.

From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver uses his brakes nearly 450 times, applying a total load on the brake pedal of almost 54 tons​​​​. Said another way, each driver applies a load of more than 550 kg (1,213 lbs) per minute. ​​

As for energy dissipated in braking, the Shanghai International Circuit places in the last positions among the World Championship tracks: over the course of the entire race, a car dissipates in braking about 182 kWh of energy on average.​


The most demanding braking sections

Of the 8 braking sections at the Shanghai International Circuit, 3 are classified as demanding on the brakes ​and 5 are light. The most challenging braking section is curve 14 with its 5.5 G in deceleration: the single-seaters arrive at the curve going more than 338 km/h (210 mph) and they brake to go down to 69 km/h (43 mph) in just over 135 meters (443 feet). At this point, the drivers apply a load of 254 kg (560 lbs) on the brake pedal.

Turn 6 is also exciting: speeds go from 292 km/h (181 mph) to 90 km/h (56 mph) in​ 106 meters (348 feet), while the deceleration reaches 5.1 G.

The first curve is unique in that it comes after the finish line and the cars are going more than 321 km/h (199 mph) because the turn-in stage lasts a long time, extending all the way to turn 2, which is practically attached to the first one.

In other words, the pilots never take their foot off the brake pedal, if not for a mere fraction of a second. Which explains the 5.29 seconds spent overall in braking while the maximum deceleration is just 2.2 G.


Brembo Performance

In China, the single-seaters equipped with Brembo calipers have won 11 of the 15 races contested up to today, including the last seven.
This is also where Sebastian Vettel won his first race with Red Bull in 2009.​​