As Formula One headed over the Atlantic for the Canadian Grand Prix, many upgrades were brought by teams to stay up to date in 2017’s immense development battle, as well as to cope with the circuit differences from Monaco to Canada.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is known for its immense punishments on the brake pedal, with various teams in the past forced out of the race due to the brakes not lasting — including the Mercedes Formula 1 team, when Hamilton was forced into retirement from second, and Rosberg lost the lead the Ricciardo in 2014. To avoid dramas in 2017, teams went radical in the changes they made to their braking systems.
Ferrari front brakes
The Ferrari Formula 1 team were one of the teams that brought upgrades to their brakes to cope with the demands of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The new upgrade, which the Ferrari F1 team brought to Montreal, features three outlets on the drum of the front brakes. With this new upgrade, the team will be able to better manage temperature, and would therefore reduce the chance of a potential DNF, as it will be able to better manage temperatures throughout the course of the weekend.
Ferrari’s philosophy in regards to their front brake cooling, however, is much different than most other F1 teams. Teams such as Toro Rosso, Renault, Sauber and Force India were seen with multiple small holes — 6 in the case of Sauber — however, the Scuderia opted to go with fewer, but larger outlets for cooling.
Mercedes front brakes
Unlike others, the Mercedes Formula 1 team opted to go aggressive on its braking system in its bid to tip Ferrari at the top of the championship, following their Monaco defeat.
The Brackley based outfit, who now have a narrow lead in the constructors’ championship, opted to put make cooling outlets on its front brake drums, despite history of an overheating car in the race – including this year, with Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix.
The concept which the Mercedes Formula 1 team brought to Canada — which proved successful with its first 1-2 finish of the season — traps the heat generated, which in Canada is record-high compared to other circuits.
However, it may have been a different story if Ferrari didn’t tumble down the order at the start, as by following a car closely behind, the outfit may have experienced overheating issues.
Renault brake hub
As did many teams, the Renault Formula One team tuned their brakes to handle the high demands of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which features 7 high energy braking occasions per lap.
Although the team adapted a standard plate on its front braking discs, with little innovative technology, it did take into account the high importance of cooling around Montreal, and ran five drilled holes on its brake drum to keep the temperatures low in the area.
As Mercedes first introduced in the summer of 2016, the Renault Formula 1 team have also adapted the “scallop” brake disc, after McLaren also copied the Silver Arrows earlier this season.
The design was an innovative one, which hadn’t been seen before in F1 before Mercedes introduced it in July, 2016. The main advantage of this concept is to drill the cooling holes in a different size and angle, and its main benefit comes cooling front, which is why the French outfit brought it from the Canadian Grand Prix, which is critical on the brakes.
Ferrari rear wing
In its bid to protect its championship lead, the Ferrari F1 team gave championship leader Sebastian Vettel, exclusively, a lower downforce wing to suit the medium downforce demands of Montreal.
The team brought the new rear wing, which was a new development for the team this year, and featured a spoon-style wing.
Not only was the upgrade significant for the Canadian GP, but equally could be testing for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which also puts particular stress on straight-line.
Mercedes ‘spoon-style’ rear wing
Like Ferrari, F1 title rivals Mercedes also brought the spoon-style rear wing for both its drivers to suit the lower downforce demands of Canada. However, in the case of Mercedes, it wasn’t a new development, as the team ran the spoon-style rear-wing at many low downforce circuits last year, such as Spa, Monza and Baku.
Williams, like many other F1 teams, made drastic changes to its T-Wing between Monaco and Canada. In Williams case, it switched from its double T-Wing concept in Monaco — which was a high downforce circuit — to Canada — which has high straight-line speed requirements, and compared to Monaco, is less demanding downforce wise.
The Ferrari F1 team, in addition, also switched to just a single T-Wing for the Canadian Grand Prix, with similar concepts expected for the next two F1 races in Azerbaijan and Austria, which are medium and low downforce circuits, before heading to Silverstone, where Monaco-like T-Wings are expected to return.