The first race of the season in Bahrain was unsurprisingly demanding on tyre wear, due to the roughness of the asphalt and the frequency of traction zones. This circuit also puts high amounts of stress on the brakes.
It is no coincidence that technicians describe the Bahrain International circuit as one of the most demanding circuits on brakes, with a difficulty index of 4 (from 1 to 5).
The hardest braking zone is the first corner after the long 1.1km straight. The single-seaters go from 323 to just 80 km/h in 124 metres, with a braking time of 2.79 seconds and a load of 129kg on the pedal.
Ferrari: More robust front discs for 2023
In the second year of F1’s new regulations, the teams have optimised almost all areas of their cars. When starting a new project associated with one of the most important regulatory changes in the history of F1, it is wise to have a certain margin of error when designing new components.
Several teams had very overweight cars last season, although this has been addressed by the majority of the field for 2023 – so there will no longer be much talk about excessive weight.
There has also been plenty of work to optimise braking systems, specifically concerning the mass of the components – alongside more effort to reduce their weight.
This has resulted in the 2023 braking systems weighing 300-400 grams less than in 2022.
However, it’s about finding a compromise. Ferrari brought a new disc to the track in Bahrain, developed together with Brembo, a leading Italian company in braking components in the world, which features fewer holes than the 2022 specification.
Due to an estimated average increase of 5% more braking torque than in 2022, the Italian team asked its supplier for a more robust disc without sacrificing on cooling.
The result was a disc with less than 1000 holes, arranged in a different way, as we show in the cover image, used on the F1-75 and also on the Haas VF23, compared to the 1050 holes that Ferrari customer Alfa Romeo is still using.
The Maranello-based team has moved the brake calliper forward, as can be seen on the Haas VF23, whereas it was nearer to the rear on the F1-75 – albeit also further down.
Red Bull and Aston Martin: Very advanced calipers, with pins and fins to maximize cooling and lightness
As for Red Bull, who dominated the first round of the season, the most important work was carried out on the caliper, again developed together with Brembo, bearing in mind that the Anglo-Austrian team instead buys wear parts from Carbon Industries such as Mercedes.
The giant from Bergamo, with its Racing headquarters in Curno (BG), supplies calipers to all the teams (McLaren is equipped by AP Racing which is part of the Brembo group) and is capable of developing customized solutions.
It is important to remember that brake system components are Open Source Components (OSC), a designation that went into effect last season and which applies to those components whose design and intellectual property are made available to all teams.
The teams must upload their design specifications and any subsequent modifications to an FIA server that can only be accessed by the teams. Competitors also have an obligation to share information on any problems that arise, and interestingly, OSC components can even be ‘sold’ by one competitor to another, effectively making them a form of TRC component (downloadable components).
It is no coincidence that Haas, for example, uses the same calipers as Ferrari and also the 990 hole discs, which have a completely different texture from the previous specification as overwritten.
Red Bull has also introduced a lighter caliper to the track, which has the characteristic of having many useful Pins to maximise cooling.
This feature has also been taken up by other teams, including Williams and the ‘usual’ Aston Martin. The team, which is headed by the former Red Bull technical department, Dan Fallows, has a caliper that is not too dissimilar on the outside, with the presence of many pins that increase the exchange surface.
Unlike the Milton Keynes team, Aston Martin decided to rely on fins in the central parts to further improve cooling. The latter also changed the position of the macro component. On the AMR23, these components are in a horizontal position.
Author: Piergiuseppe Donadoni
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang