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F1: Lotus acknowledges braking system not yet optimal

Lotus F1 Team Technical Director Nick Chester revealed that the brake-by-wire, electronic system of the E22 was still far from being perfect, and that was causing the drivers a lot of problems.

“We’ve made some improvements with the braking of the car, but there is still a lot more to come”, said Chester in a team press release.

“We have more work to do at Enstone including improving the set-up and operation of our brake-by-wire system, which is one of the areas where the drivers have the biggest complaints. It’s spoiling their entry into the corner and costing them quite a lot of time”, the British engineer added.

The brake-by-wire has been introduced in Formula 1 to counterbalance the huge braking effect caused by the MGU-K, which operates as a generator.

Chester provides more insights about this system.

“The system looks at what the driver is requesting from the brake pedal and then the demand is split between a braking force generated by the power unit and a normal hydraulic braking force from the callipers,” he explained.

“The difficult part is fine tuning those two different types of braking demands so that they work together in a natural, predictable way for the driver. It’s very important to have a brake-by-wire system that responds the way you want and to get the mapping correct so that you have the right braking behaviour to make it easier for the driver to control wheel locking.

“When you initially apply the brakes you want to get the pressures up high as quickly as you can, for good retardation. But for corner entry, how you come off the brakes is really important. Being able to carry good speed into the corner apex makes a massive difference to the lap time,” he concluded.