Formula 1 2016: the Abu Dhabi GP according to Brembo


 An in-depth look at Formula 1 brake use at the Yas Marina Circuit

The Yas Marina Circuit will host the 21st race of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship from 25 to 27 November. The track is located on Yas Island, the 25 square meter man-made island in the area north-west of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Designed by Hermann Tilke, the circuit was inaugurated on 30 October 2009 and since then has hosted seven Formula 1 Grand Prix races. The race begins with the sun high in the sky and ends under artificial light.

The 13 braking sections are fairly challenging, the pace is fast (the drivers average 200 km/h per qualifying lap) and the climate is sweltering. These factors result in increased grip and greater stress which can create problems related to thermal exchange and wear of the friction material.

According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 21 World Championship tracks on a scale of 1 to 10, the Yas Marina Circuit is in the category of tracks that present a high level of difficulty for the brakes. Indeed, the Arab track earned a 10 on the difficulty index, which is precisely what the Montreal track got. The fact that these two circuits are equally as challenging is incredible because besides being located at two different latitudes (24° Abu Dhabi, 45° Montreal), the two tracks are very different in length, configuration and average speed. Yet, both put an exaggerated amount of stress on the braking systems.


Brake Use During the GP

The presence of 13 braking sections on 5,554 metres of track means the brakes are being used for 22% of the duration of the race. Which isn't much when you consider that on the other Middle-Eastern circuit, Sakhir, the time spent braking is 20% of the total.

The average deceleration is just 2.9 g, one of the lowest in the World Championship together with that recorded on the circuits at Monaco, Mexico City and Suzuka. The energy dissipated in braking is 121 kWh, the same as the amount of energy consumed in a day by 28 freezers.

From the starting line to the chequered flag, each driver applies a total load of 69 tonnes on the pedal, which is equivalent to the total weight of about 115 camels.


Detailed representation of the 2016 Abu Dhabi circuit with curves detail Brembo  


The Most Challenging Stops

Of the 13 braking sections on the Yas Marina Circuit, only two are classified by the Brembo technicians as challenging on the brakes, while four are of medium difficulty and seven are light.

The most challenging by far is at Curve 8: facilitated by a straightaway that measures almost 1.2 km, the cars arrive going 340 km/h and then brake for 1.64 seconds to reduce their speed to 64 km/h. In this brief moment of time the drivers undergo a deceleration of 5.2 g and the single-seaters travel 154 metres, which is less than half the height of the 74 floors in the Sky Tower.

At that point, the drivers apply a load of 169 kg on the brake pedal and three curves later, at turn 11, they have to make a similar effort (160 kg): the single-seaters slow down from 329 km/h to 81 km/h in 1.60 seconds, travelling 147 metres.

Three other braking sections surpass 100 metres in length by a bit, but the deceleration does not reach even 4.4 g. The least challenging braking section is at turn 13: only 16 km/h of deceleration in 72 hundredths of a second and a load on the brake pedal that gets up to 46 kg.




Brembo Victories

Single-seaters with Brembo brakes won five of the seven GP races contested in Abu Dhabi. The driver who has won the most races here is Sebastian Vettel with three victories, all with Red Bull. The German driver is also the only one to have won two GP races in a row.