Brembo engineers offer a guide to braking for this weekend’s Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix to run at Silverstone, July 16-18.
Due to the introduction of the sprint qualifying race, the British Grand Prix will once again make Formula 1 history: the position on the grid will be decided by the result of the 100 km race. If everything goes according to plan, it will involve 25 to 30 minutes of pure entertainment packed with overtaking and heavy braking.
According to Brembo technicians, the Silverstone Circuit falls into the category of those tracks that make little demand on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a two on the difficulty index – lower than all the other tracks in the current Formula 1 World Championship schedule.
Half a pound of brake pads, please!
In addition to aluminum-lithium calipers and carbon fiber discs, Brembo also supplies its teams with brake pads, also made from carbon fiber: It makes five different types for the front brakes and two for the rear ones. They vary according to the specifications of the material used, the internal ventilation and the geometry.
The length of each pad ranges from 160 to 190 mm (6.3 to 7.4 in.) and the surface area from 50 to 90 cm2 (0.05 to 0.09 ft2) whereas the weight varies from 150 to 300 grams (0.3 to 0.66 lbs.). The pads have a friction coefficient of 0.5 and the operating temperature is the same as the discs – they both have very high thermal conductivity since they are in direct contact and made from similar materials.
An endless range of brake pads for street-legal cars
Thanks to the experience it has gained in 46 years of Formula 1 and its collaboration with car manufacturers, Brembo has developed a range of brake pads for street-legal cars which guarantee maximum safety when braking. Through constant research and extensive laboratory and road tests, it has produced over 100 different compounds.
The aim is to offer the best solution for each type of vehicle and driving style, both in terms of performance and comfort, as well as guaranteeing a low noise level. Brembo makes a total of 1,400 different products which cover over 98 percent of the cars in circulation in Europe.
Half the force used on the Monaco circuit applied to the brake pedal
For the real race, the biggest risk, due to the high latitude and weather conditions which may be difficult, is glazing of the friction material. Even if the track is only 5,891 meters long, there are seven braking sections and on three of these, deceleration exceeds 2.8G and the force exerted on the pedal 55 kg.
The brakes are used on the lap for a total of 12.6 seconds, 15 percent of the duration of the Grand Prix. All in all, on Sunday, from the start of the race to the checkered flag, each driver will exert a total force on the brake pedal of 30 metric tons: at Imola 58.5 metric tons of force is exerted and at Monaco 62 metric tons.
Almost 200 km/h (190 mph) in 2.4 seconds
Of the seven braking sections at the British GP, two are classified as very demanding on the brakes, one is of medium difficulty and the other four are light.
The hardest section is the one on Turn 3 where the drivers come onto it still accelerating from the start line without using the brakes on corners 1 and 2 at 320 km/h (199 mph): in just 2.37 seconds and 130 meters (119 yards), they slow down to 125 km/h (77.6 mph) with a load of 150 kg (330 lbs.) exerted on the brake pedal and a deceleration of 4.8G.