Formula 1 brake supplier Brembo has outlined its planned activities for the 2021 season, which is due to get underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix, March 26-28. Significantly, the company will continue to limit its presence trackside, while making use of the Brembo Remote Garage. Introduced in 2020 at the company’s Curno headquarters, this facility was set up due to Covid-19 mitigation measures designed to minimize access to the track and prohibit contact between people belonging to different teams.
The facility features a full engineering staff with remote data access to supported teams, allowing Brembo specialists to monitor brake systems as a race unfolds and provide teams with insights into the condition and performance of their braking systems. The company says it wants to return to trackside operations as soon as possible, but the remote facility will remain operational as it has proved to be a useful addition to the Brembo support package.
In the area of brake system development, Brembo says the 2021 championship does not present significant changes compared with the 2020 season, given the freeze imposed on some components of the cars, including the braking system. For the 2021 championship, the company says the majority of the cars using its brakes will be fitted with 32mm-thick front discs and 28mm rears.
However, in 2022 the Formula 1 regulations will undergo substantial change. One of the most visible will be the transition to 18in wheels and tires. The increase from the current 13in size will create more space for the brake housing within the rim; thus, the regulations allow for larger brake discs.
The external diameter of the carbon discs will go from the current 278mm to a maximum of 330mm, with an unchanged maximum thickness remaining at 32mm. Teams will only be permitted a single set of discs and pads – consisting of four discs and eight pads between the front and rear axles – for each GP, which Brembo says will present a challenge in terms of friction material development, specifically balancing the needs of durability with initial bite and braking progression. With an increase in the effective radius, the company says it will also have to review the architecture of the discs as well as the geometry of its calipers, pads and brake-by-wire pumps.
The regulation will also affect the freedom Brembo’s engineers have when it comes to disc cooling. Cooling holes through the disc will be required to have a minimum diameter of 3mm, whereas currently there is no minimum limit imposed by regulations. This means that for the same disc thickness as currently used, fewer cooling holes can be accommodated, reducing the cooling capacity. Currently, Brembo’s very high cooling capacity discs each feature 1,480 holes, arranged in seven rows, with its medium cooling disc only having 800 in four rows.