200 to 70 mph in just 400 feet.
The inaugural Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix will take place this weekend, and it should be a good one. It takes place on a street circuit designed to be fast. Only Monza, known as the Temple of Speed, is faster. Thanks to the fast layout of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, drivers will be on the throttle for 86% of a lap.
As you can imagine, you need all the brakes to rein the car back in, and Brembo has dished the details on just how heavy the braking will be. According to the braking specialist's predictions, the most challenging braking point is going into turn 27, just before the main straight going back to turn 1. Drivers will approach the corner at 198 mph, but that's not even the most impressive figure. The drivers have just over 400 feet and 2.6 seconds to slow down to 70 mph. This braking point is so severe, the drivers will be subjected to -4.3 G.
According to the organizers, the average speed around the circuit is 155 mph. Even so, Brembo's technicians classify the track as "medium difficulty" for brakes. That's the same rating given to the Turkish Grand Prix.
The Brembos fitted to an F1 car are not like the brakes the company supplies for the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. Although Brembo is already working on next-generation brake technology, this is still a step above. The calipers are made from an aluminum-lithium compound, while the discs are carbon fiber. For F1, Brembo makes five different pads for the front and two for the rear.
The length of the pads is between 6.3 to 7.4 inches, with a surface area of 0.05 to 0.09 square feet. Once again, none of these are the most impressive figure. The brake pads are tasked with slowing an F1 car down, yet they only weigh half a pound.
So, why is Jeddah Corniche only rated as medium difficulty? Since it's such a fast circuit with high-speed corners, the brakes will only be used for 14% of the time or a total of 9.6 seconds. Deceleration forces range from 2.2 to 4.5 G, which isn't as much as other tracks. From turn 8 to turn 12, the brakes will not be used. There are only seven braking zones; two are demanding, two are medium, and the remaining three are light.
Still, on the tight confines of a street circuit, even if the brakes aren't subjected to heavy wear, failure could be catastrophic, so you can bet the brakes will be working overtime nonetheless.