Sauber C33 - smaller rear brakes 28 March 2014
New for 2014 is the introduction of fly-by-wire brakes, or brake-by-wire, where the connection between the driver's brake pedal and the brake system is electrical rather than mechanical. This is to give better control over the front-to-rear brake balance when the ERS (Energy Recovery System) is in harvesting mode during braking. With the ERS's increased capacity this year, the electrical braking percentage on the rear axle when harvesting has also increased to around 15 percent of the total braking power. This has allowed teams to change the rear brake caliper and disc specification, mainly to save weight, included increased machining detail on the caliper.Last year the typical rear brake assembly had the same six-piston calliper and disc size as the front. Now some teams, including Sauber (shown), Red Bull and Mercedes, have gone for a four-piston caliper and a smaller disc at the rear. In the event of an electronic failure in the fly-by-wire system, the brakes still have to work mechanically as before. However, as we saw with Kamui Kobayashi's accident at the first corner in Melbourne, sometimes increasing the complexity of a system can have its own pitfalls.