The 2019 Formula 1 Japanese GP according to Brembo


 An in-depth look at the braking systems on the Formula 1 single-seaters at Suzuka International Racing Course


The Formula 1 moves in Asia for the Japanese GP, which is the 17th race in the 2019 World Championship scheduled for October 11-13 at the Suzuka International Racing Course. Formula 1 debuted on this track 32 years ago (in 2007 and 2008 the Circuit didn’t host any F1 GPs), but it was in 1962 that the Honda-owned circuit was inaugurated. ​


In the first editions, several cars were forced to stop due to brake failure, a problem that seems to have been overcome.​

Located in the Mie Prefecture city of the same name, the Suzuka International Racing Course has modified its configuration four times, most recently in 2003. ​

That year it changed the layout of the 130R, corner which the drivers take at full throttle, and the chicane where the brakes are essential. ​

Like all tracks that are very drivable, Suzuka is full of fast corners that require almost insignificant use of the brakes. ​

On 10 turns the brakes aren't used at all (like on Dunlop) and on another five corners, the braking distance doesn't exceed 90 meters (295 feet). ​

There are just a couple of hard braking sections where the cars drop almost for 200 km/h (124 mph). ​

The victory could be up for grabs right at these points and to stay in the game, some drivers might extend beyond the braking limits and risk flying off the track. ​

According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 21 tracks in the World Championship, the Suzuka International Racing Course is one of the least demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 2 on the difficulty index.​



The demand on the brakes during the GP

The 18 corners on the track require drivers to use their brakes 8 times per lap, for a total of just over 13 seconds. ​

Braking on 2 turns lasts less than one second. From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver uses his brakes for a total of 11.5 minutes. The almost complete absence of thrilling braking sections means the average peak deceleration per lap is 2.8 G, the lowest in the championship​

Since there are few corners that require heavy deceleration, the energy dissipated in braking by a single-seater over the course of the entire GP is fairly contained: 120 kWh, which is less than half that of the Singapore GP. ​

The load applied by each driver on the brake pedal throughout the race is also moderate: less than 29 tons.​


The most demanding braking sections

Of the 8 braking points at Suzuka International Racing Course, only two are classified as highly demanding on the brakes by Brembo technicians, and 6 are light. ​

The most challenging by far is Turn 16, where the cars go from 315 km/h (196 mph) to about 103 km/h (64 mph) in just 120 meters (394 feet). During the 2.41 seconds when the brakes are operating, the drivers apply a load of 164 kg (362 lbs) on the pedal and are subject to a peak deceleration of 5.3 G. ​ ​

At the Hairpin (Turn 11), the gap in speed is back up to over 200 km/h or 124 mph (from 284 km/h to 80 km/h or from 176 mph to 50 mph) thanks to the brakes being used for 2.82 seconds and the cars traveling about 121 meters (397 feet). However, there is less physical stress placed on the drivers: 3.5 G in deceleration and a 128 kg (282 lbs) load on the brake pedal. ​


Brembo performance

Single-seaters with at least one Brembo component have won 21 of the 34 Japanese GP races that they took part in. A good seven of these victories were earned by Ferrari, but in the first edition back in 1976 in Fuji, Ferrari lost the World Drivers' Championship that Niki Lauda seemed sure to win. Ferrari hasn't won at Suzuka since 2004, but Sebastian Vettel took the top podium four times on this track with Red Bull. ​

If he had one more victory to his name, he would match Michael Schumacher's record of being the only driver to have won five times at Suzuka with Brembo brakes. ​