F1 Drivers Want Freedom from Brake Dust

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Concerns about particulate-matter emissions emanating from the vehicles has been steadily increasing, with brake dust garnering a significant portion of this concern, as global worries about pollution and its impact on climate change grows. The European Union is expected to promulgate rules covering these emissions by 2027 and the overall automotive industry is feverishly working on innovative solutions to the problem.

The latest call for addressing brake-generated particulate matter (PM) comes from a unique source: Formula 1 drivers, with Sebastian Vettel expressing major concern following the July 10th Austrian Grand Prix.

According to extensive media reports, drivers have voiced concerns for years about the brake dust emitted by an F1 racer’s carbon disc brakes, with some saying the situation has become much worse in 2022 due to a redesign of brake-cooling ducts.

Matt Somerfield, for motorsport.com, wrote, “Vettel said the long-running issue had worsened this season owing to the new brake duct layout, with drivers now not only subjected to the brake dust generated by a car they’re following, but also dust created by their own car.

‘The design of the brake ducts this year, with the front axle, it is blowing all the brake dust into our faces and it is not good,’ he said.”

Somefield’s article explained in depth the design of the latest F1 brake-duct system, featuring it along with images.

Additional reports indicated Vettel, along with other drivers, have requested the FIA – which governs Formula 1 – put regulations in place to mitigate the problem.

Autosport.com’s Jonathan Noble reported, “The FIA has tabled the subject onto the agenda of the next meeting of the Sporting Advisory Committee, which is made up of team members, to see what action can be taken to improve matters.”

The issue is not new as drivers began posting questions about brake-dust emissions 20 years ago.

Nobel extensively quoted Valtteri Bottas, a Mercedes-Benz driver in 2019, who “revealed that he often sneezed black dust after races after breathing in brake dust through races.

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“Asked what could be done about the problem, he said: “I don’t know if there is anything that can be done. . .

“’Any time after the race when you sneeze it is black, so year after year, I am not sure what it does to your body. No idea.”

The BRAKE Report will continue to monitor this ongoing issue.

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.