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I'm Matthew Somerfield, a freelance journalist focused on the technical elements of Formula One. It has been a pleasure to provide content via this site for the last 5 years, which has led me to several paid freelancing jobs along the way. I'm currently plying my trade with Motorsport.com and working alongside the legend that is Giorgio Piola.

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10 Mar 2014

The increase in performance from ERS means that braking balance becomes a priority for the drivers this season.

Having been used to seeing drivers manually adjusting brake bias in previous seasons (driver reaching down to the left of the cockpit) this season the process will become electronic. Additional paddles or buttons will be found on the steering wheels for the driver to make adjustments.

The standard hydraulic front to rear braking system is retained but the electronic system sits on top of this. This is because with the driver/car is harvesting upto 5 times the electrical energy per lap (2mj up from 400kj's) it puts more prominence on bias.

When the driver applies the brakes the amount of pressure will be monitored by the ECU. Dependent upon how much harvesting the MGU-K is doing the ECU will then proportion off how much physical braking is done by the rear brakes.  

The whole system is software controlled, with code written by each individual team.  Thus far, drivers have been complaining of a lack of feel from the brakes, due to the momentary delay between his input, the ECU working out the bias split, the amount of harvesting happening and the reaction of the physical braking force.  This will undoubtedly lead to an area of improvement as the relationship between the systems and the drivers are realised and additional code written.

Note: The systems fail safe reverts to full hydraulic control in order that the required braking pressure is achieved.
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3 comments:

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  2. Can the braking system automatically change balance for each turn, or must it still be done manually? Also, is the balance automatically changed as the weight of the car changes throughout the race?

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  3. Hi Mason

    No the adjustment must be made by the driver, weight changes (distribution) does affect the way the driver applies bias but he must do this, not the system.

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