The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit is an outlier on the Formula 1 calendar. Held at altitude, it’s a massive challenge for the teams and the drivers as it requires a totally different approach. If the circuit existed at sea level, teams would likely run a low-medium downforce configuration. But the rarefied air, which is less dense and starved of oxygen, means they all run close to their highest downforce packages.
This puts an emphasis on cooling too, with teams forced to run with their most open configuration.
The rarefied air also poses a significant challenge when it comes to braking efficiency, with temperatures often climbing into the danger zone.
It was the perfect place then to test a new solution, with Brembo entrusting Ferrari with the task, as it focuses on a new disc design for all of their customers in 2019.
The new design features a seven-row chevron drill pattern across the disc, rather than the six, in order to dissipate the almost 1000° C that can be generated under braking.
It’s a breakthrough that was first made possible when the regulations were changed in 2017 to allow teams to run discs that are 32mm wide, rather than 28mm. This extra space was enough for Brembo to increase its cooling capacity quite significantly.
Making further gains from the drill pattern has been a challenge, with the manufacturer having to carefully consider the resistance of the disc, its structural integrity and the wear level.