Formula 1: the Monaco GP 2016 according to Brembo


 An in-depth look at Formula 1 brake use on the Circuit de Monaco

​The street circuit in Monaco will host the 6th race of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season from 26 to 29 May. The historic track, which snakes through the streets of the Principality of Monaco, is one of the four magnificent circuits used in the first edition of the F1 World Championship in 1950, and it is still being used today.


It has been modified slightly over the years, the most recent change having been made in 2015 to the Tabac turn, which brought the length to 3,337 metres. This figure however is quite moderate since it is almost one kilometre shorter than the second shortest track in the Championship, the one in Mexico City. The Circuit de Monaco causes a significant amount of problems for the brakes on the single-seaters. Indeed, the winding track and limited grip often require the driver to control the car with the help of the brake, bringing on negative consequences for the temperature of the calipers and brake fluid.


In the past, this event was frequently a stage for issues linked to overheating the system and vapour lock (the phenomenon where the brake fluid reaches boiling temperature inside the caliper) with elongation of the pedal while braking, circumstances that often led to either retiring the car or if not, an accident. In the 1990 Monaco GP, Derek Warwick and Ivan Capelli were obligated to retire for just these kinds of problems with the brakes, although neither of them were equipped with a Brembo system.


In this modern age, the Brembo technicians have worked on cooling the brakes to put these problems at bay, although it is still necessary to pay particular attention to managing the temperatures during the race weekend. According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 21 World Championship tracks on a scale of 1 to 10, the Circuit de Monaco is in the category of tracks that present mid-level difficulty for the brakes. The Monaco track earned a 7 on the difficulty index, which is exactly what the other city track in Melbourne got.


infografica Brembo del circuito di Montecarlo Monaco 2016 con dettaglio curve  


Brake use during the GP

The extreme windingness of the track translates into 13 braking sections every lap. The time the single-seaters spend braking is equivalent to 26% of the overall duration of the race, a record for the entire World Championship. The presence of so many curves makes the average deceleration just 2.7 g, a figure that surpasses only that of Mexico City.


The amount of energy dissipated by each vehicle while braking throughout the whole GP race is 128 kWh, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by about 80 residents of the Principality of Monaco during the GP race. Once the drivers cross the finish line, they will have braked more than a thousand times, on average once every 6 seconds, applying a total load on the pedal of 83 and a half tonnes, the same weight as 4 fully loaded 16-metre yachts docked in the port of Monaco.



The most challenging brakings

Of the eight braking sections on the Circuit de Monaco, Brembo technicians have classified two as hard on the brakes, four as presenting mid-level difficulty and five as light. The most challenging is the one after the tunnel (curve 10), which is known as the port chicane: the drivers come flying in at 300 km/h then they slow down abruptly to 70 km/h in just 137 metres. To do this, they apply a load of 142 kg on the brake pedal and endure a deceleration of 4.6 g. The braking section at Sainte Devote (curve 1) is a bit less demanding: 293 to 101 km/h in 118 metres, slightly more than the length of the Louis II Stadium pitch where the Monaco football team plays.

Of the mid-level braking sections, the most relevant is the Massenet (curve 3) because the single-seaters approach it at 290 km/h and have to cut their speed in half so they don't end up crashing into the barrier: the brakes are used for just 1.04 seconds, but the force employed is 136 kg. The shortest braking section overall is the one coming out of the port chicane because to stay on the track, the drivers brake for 19 metres and apply a load of only 42 kg.


Brembo Victories


The single-seaters equipped with Brembo brakes have won 23 of the 41 Monaco GP races that they have competed in, comprising the last seven. And Ferrari has taken the top podium seven times on this track, ever since it relied on Brembo as its supplier. Ayrton Senna was victorious six times and each car he drove was equipped with Brembo brakes.