Les analyses techniques F1 de Giorgio Piola

Why brake dust has become a major problem in 2022

Share it

It was at the Austrian Grand Prix that riders raised concerns about inhaling carbon dust from the brakes and the health consequences. After stepping out of his Aston Martin with a blackened face, Sebastian Vettel explained that this long-standing problem had been made worse this season due to the new shape of the scoops: in addition to being subjected to brake dust generated by the car they follow, the drivers now suffer that of their own car.

If the brake scoops have been modified this season, it is to ensure that teams can no longer generate “outwash” (the path of the airflow over and around the front wheels) as easily , in particular by passing air through the wheels. The introduction of a mandatory rear-facing scoop outlet was therefore intended to maintain centralized airflow. However, this decision also had consequences for the way carbon dust is discharged.

Previously, crews vented air, heat and brake dust through the face of the wheel. Aerodynamic advantages could be gained from this, which resulted in complex designs for brake ducts and solutions such as the blown axle and bespoke rims.

The scoops of the Red Bull RB16B (2021)

1/3

You only have to go back to last year to see how complex the shape of the brake scoops was under the old regulations. The various solutions used by Red Bull on its RB16B show how the channels were exploited to reduce the transfer of heat from the brakes to the rim, and therefore the tires, and to better manage the flow of air rejected by the face of the wheel. wheel by having it bypass the brakes.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The scoops of the Ferrari SF21 (2021)

The scoops of the Ferrari SF21 (2021)

2/3

For comparison, here are Ferrari’s solutions for exploiting different circuit characteristics and improving the temperature ratio between brakes and tires while managing airflow.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The blown front axle of the Ferrari SF70H (2017)

The blown front axle of the Ferrari SF70H (2017)

3/3

Before blown axles were banned in 2019, teams used them as a means of bypassing the brakes, with the airflow being collected by the scoop to improve airflow around the rim.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The new regulations have been designed in such a way that its intent, which is to reduce the role the brake scoop plays in generating outwash, is maintained. Standard rims and wheel flanges are part of the equation, and the outer drum creates a seal so airflow can only enter or exit through the front and rear scoops.

Teams still have some freedom to creatively interpret the management of heat and airflow inside the drum. Many choose to use a shroud that surrounds the brake disc, which is illustrated by the Red Bull RB18 below.

Close up of the front brake of the Red Bull RB18

Close up of the front brake of the Red Bull RB18

The shape, size and position of the inlet and outlet scoops are dictated by the regulations, but the designers still have some leeway. However, the FIA ​​may reduce these freedoms somewhat by leaning into the rear scoop to alter the passage of brake dust.

It is also worth remembering that the diameter of the brake discs has increased considerably this season, from a maximum of 278mm to a fixed limit between 325mm and 330mm, which means that there is in theory more dust to throw off.

In addition, the diameter of the cooling holes which pass through the brake disc must now be at least 3 mm, which has important consequences for the number and shape of these holes. The regulations also specify that no cooling holes are allowed in the brake pads. The combination of these factors means that the amount of brake dust can be increased.

Therefore, in consultation with the teams, the shape of the brake discs and scoops will be examined, the objective being to try to find a workable solution without eliminating the reason why the air is no longer expelled on the sides of the car. In the longer term, it is not impossible that the FIA ​​could consider something more radical, such as changing the material for the discs.

Read also:
The new dimensions of brake discs

The new dimensions of brake discs

#brake #dust #major #problem


Share it