Canadian GP Challenges Brakes

MONTREAL — The 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, June 18th at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is, according to the Brembo engineers, one of the most demanding circuits for brakes on the Formula 1 schedule. They rate it a 4 on the 1-to-5 difficulty index.

The braking points which are very sharp and close together subject the brake system to a lot of stress with the brake discs and pads reaching very high temperatures which are fortunately reduced by a number of long straight sections which give the components a rest and allow them to cool down.

Gilles and Brembo, advocates of driving pleasure

Gilles Villeneuve continues to personify driving pleasure even today: whether he was riding a snowmobile or in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, the Canadian was the epitome of happiness and resorted to any means not to stop, even if the car had a problem like when he completed a lap on only three wheels.

In all of the six GPs he won in Formula 1, Villeneuve always used Brembo brakes. Driving pleasure is one of the key elements of Brembo’s philosophy and applies to those who drive on the track and those who take on mountain roads: in both cases, the brake system must be responsive, combining safety with driver satisfaction.

140 kg (308 pounds) of force, six times per lap

Formula 1 drivers use their brakes on half of the turns at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, yet they need them on all of the first three, even though on the second one, the stopping distance is just 41 meters (134.5 feet) and the g-force 2.5. The brake system is used by drivers for 12 seconds per lap, the equivalent of 16% of the entire Grand Prix.

From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver exerts a total load of over 67 metric tons on the brake pedal. On five turns, the load exceeds 145 kg (320 pounds) and on another, exceeds 140 kg (308 pounds). Despite this, the stopping distances are shorter and exceed 100 meters (328 feet) only in one section. 

Less than 216 km/h (134.2 mph) in 2.5 seconds

Of the seven braking sections at the Canadian GP, six are classified as very demanding on the brakes and the remaining one is light.

The hardest one is on turn 10 because it is the only one where the drivers reduce their speed by over 200 km/h (124.2 mph), 216 km/h (134.2 mph) to be precise.

They go from 290 km/h (180 mph) to 74 km/h (46 mph) in 2.55 seconds while covering a distance of 100 meters (328 feet) with a load of 146 kg (322 pounds) applied to the brake pedal.


Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.