Grand final at Abu Dhabi: last challenge for F1 brakes


 Different Brembo brakes ranging from carbon fiber ones for grand prix prototypes to carbon ceramic ones for road vehicles


For the ninth time running, the Formula 1 world championship has come to a close in the Arab Emirates. Last year the Yas Marina Circuit was given a new layout, with 5 corners less than the previous version and that, together with the shorter track, led to 12 second faster lap times in the qualifying round. 

According to Brembo technicians, the Yas Marina Circuit is one of the most demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it is rated 4 on the difficulty index mainly due to the problem with thermal discharge both in the second and the last third of the Abu Dhabi track. ​

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

Carbon discs were first used in Formula 1 in the 1980s, before being used in other motorsport competitions. No other element offers the same special combination of light weight, high thermal conductivity and absence of dilation, even at 1,000°C (1,832°F), which is the temperature that the Brembo F1 discs reach. 

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 coefficient of thermal expansion is one-fifteenth of steel and one-eleventh 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 that this material needs, but also due to high consumption which is not compatible with day-to-day use. Some of their benefits, however, can be found in the carbon-ceramic discs of which Brembo, with Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes - a joint venture with SGL Group - is the main worldwide manufacturer. 

On average, carbon-ceramic discs are 5-6 kg (11-13 lbs) lighter than traditional cast iron discs. What's more, their lifespan may even match that of the vehicle they're mounted on. It depends 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.​






4.5G at least​

At Yas Marina Circuit the F1 single-seaters use the brakes 6 times on each lap but they are only used on corners 5 and 6 for two consecutive braking moments. On each lap, the drivers use their brakes for approximately 10.7 seconds amounting to 13% of the total race time. On 5 of the 6 braking sections the brake system is used for more than 1 second but less than 2. 

On all the braking sections, deceleration is at least 4.5G with peaks of over 5G on half of these including corner 5: to reduce speed by 180 km/h (112 mph), the drivers apply 168 kg (370 lb) of pressure to the brake pedal and experience 5.3G of deceleration. From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver exerts a total load of 54 metric tons on the brake pedal. ​


Turn 6 brake or nix​

Of the 6 braking sections at the Abu Dhabi GP, 4 are classified as very demanding on the brakes and the other 2 are considered of medium difficulty. 

Preceded by an almost 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long straight, the most challenging braking section is on turn 6: the single-seaters come onto it at 322 km/h (200 mph) and slow down for 2.63 seconds to reach a speed of 74 km/h (45.9 mph). They do this in 120 meters (394 feet) with a deceleration of 5.4G. ​



And what about the video games?​

It’s not easy to brake perfectly on turn 6 at Abu Dhabi in the Formula 1 video game. As you go under the advertisement bridge with black and yellow markings, continue to press the accelerator for another two seconds. On the edge of the track, on the right-hand side, you will see a line of black tarmac: when it changes color, press hard on the brake and shift down to 2nd gear. Do not leave the corner too late or your rivals may force their way through. ​