The car moves at a speed of 330 km / h when the driver depresses the brake pedal, a dry kick with a force of more than 100 kgf. Immediately the calipers bite the discs and the whole car suffers a fatal blow, a deceleration of 4.5 grams during which the system reaches temperatures close to 1000 ° C. The single-seater slows down to 200 km/h in a hundred-meter space, which allows it to enter the curve and then re-start and regain speed again. A process that in total takes so little, less than three seconds, that it is difficult from the outside to perceive the complexity of the systems in action. FormulaPassion. passion We had the opportunity to observe the modern Formula 1 braking systems on display at Casa Brembo on the occasion of the last Italian Grand Prix, where they were able to appreciate the evolution of the sector and the attention to detail that teams paid to look for even the smallest marginal gains.
Contrary to what one might think, the braking systems in Formula 1 are different from each other. Although Brembo is responsible for providing the entire caliper, including the recently acquired AP Racing, the characteristics of each component are customized to the teams’ requirements. in the design stage Great attention is paid to compromising the weight stiffness of the caliperEach team has a different philosophy. Lightness always remains a priority, since the brakes are also part of the non-spring blocks, that is, they are located in the direction of the filter movement of the suspension, and therefore they have the greatest impact on the dynamics of the car. However, at the same time, the teams try to maintain the rigidity of the caliper, the less it deforms due to the action of the clamping on the disc, the less fluid is moved in the hydraulic system. All of this translates into a braking system that is more responsive to the rider’s demand for the pedal and the possibility of adopting smaller, lighter tanks, once again benefiting from the lighter weight.
Around 2014, the turning point in Formula 1 with the move to hybrid turbo engines, the two teams and Brembo have now come up with the best possible compromise between weight and stiffness, with little room for further improvements. And so the procedure turned out to be the effectiveness of the cooling itself of the caliper, the importance of which is evident from two sides. in the first place, Reducing the working temperatures of the handle is equivalent to reducing its heat stress, which reduces its deformation and increases the hardness of the component, as well as the readiness of the plant. At the same time, at the same temperature, better cooling efficiency allows limiting the flow of air directed to the wheel assembly, taking advantage of the freedom to manage the external aerodynamic flows.
From the calipers on display at Casa Brembo it can be seen how the 2014 model has a perfectly smooth surface. On the 2021 and 2022 calipers, on the other hand, several burrs are observed In order to increase the heat exchange surface with the outside Hence the effectiveness of the cooling. Moreover, the calipers displayed at Monza belong not only to two different years and regulations, but also to two different teams. It is thus possible to estimate how one of these favors a finned cooling geometry versus competitor cylinders, illustrating how each component is individually customized to the team’s requests.
By comparing the entire set of calipers 2021 and 2022, the changes imposed by the new technical regulation become visible to the naked eye. Thanks to the switch to 18-inch rims, The outer diameter of the front discs went from 280 to 321 mmWith the thickness left unchanged at 20mm. The widening of the discs led to the development of more massive calipers, with the overall weight increased by about 700 grams per wheel set.
Close up, you can also get acquainted with the ventilation ducts for the internal circulation of air necessary for cooling the disk. Holes are recognizable along the inner perimeter which then matches those on the bell once the dial is installed in the vehicle. However, the periphery is the best department to monitor how the new regulations are enforced Expand the diameter of the holes themselves, which reduces the number and cooling surface. While until 2021, the ducts can have a diameter of 2.5 mm, as of 2022 they should be at least 3 mm in diameter.
So the difficulties of cooling disks increased, but not only. Until 2021 also tabletsstrictly in carbon, It was equipped with ventilation holesthen banned in 2022. So the teams and Brembo had to devise more efficient ways to evacuate the heat generated, which also increased as the vehicle weighed more than 50kg.
Thus, careful observation brings back the picture of how much performance is required not only in external aerodynamics, but in each individual area of the car. Weight, stiffness, cooling technologies and caliper steering are just some of the parameters available to improve the braking system. Brake utilization that also continues to be closely linked to tire thermal management.