Haas F1 struggles in Russian GP qualifying; brakes still a major issue

Haas F1 is still finding the brake issues difficult to deal with and according to Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz, the switch to and back from Carbon Industrie brakes was due to the team’s inability to properly cool them therefore running the risk of not finishing the race.

I’ve not read any technical debrief from Haas F1 to confirm that was the issue but I’m sure Ted is in the know and has the right details. 

Just prior to the season start, I interviewed championship-winning F1 mechanic and NBC Sports broadcaster Steve Matchett and asked him about the ease at which teams can switch brake suppliers. In his day, they switched quite often but there was something nagging at me that was beyond just contractual obligation from a team to a supplier. In my mind, all technology evolves and I had the notion that the brake systems were bespoke and designed around the supplier’s product. Switching to CI or Hitco may not be an easy task.

As it turns out, perhaps the design for cooling is the issue with other brands of brakes. The car was designed for Brembo but perhaps simply changing brake rotors isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

The brakes were not being offered as a reason for Romain Grosjean’s poor qualifying on Saturday but nonetheless, it was a tough day at the Russian Grand Prix. Being bested by Kevin Magnussen, who has remained quiet about his car, is not what the Frenchman wanted. 

“I’ve been very unhappy with the car since yesterday morning. Something is just not working, and then today we had the yellow flags on my last lap while I was trying to improve. We need a solution for those yellow flags. Three races now we’ve had at least one Haas (car) out because we get a yellow flag on our last attempt, so that’s a bit too much. Kevin has been pretty happy with his car and I haven’t. It was nothing in the brakes, it was just the car wasn’t doing anything I wanted. I think tomorrow will be very hard.”
“As a team we’re struggling a bit more this weekend than in the first races. It’s not perfect, but I think P14 for me today was the best I could do. I think with a perfect lap P11 could’ve been possible, but it’s very close from 11th to where I am, very close. I don’t think any of these guys probably had a perfect lap. It is what it is. To be in that group is a good effort from our side. We’ve been a bit unlucky this weekend having to go back on the brakes in the middle of the weekend, but I think we’ll still have a good car for the race. Hopefully, we can get through the first corner well and have a good race.”


“A difficult day. Ups come with downs. Today we didn’t really deliver what we could’ve done. Romain qualifying last, though he’ll start second to last with Vandoorne’s penalty, doesn’t justify the speed. Again, we ran into a yellow, number three now (China, Bahrain and Russia). Kevin was very close to at least 11th position, if not 10th, in Q2. It didn’t work out, so he’ll start 13th. We’ll try to do our best for tomorrow.”

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The change in the regulations this season mean that at many circuits, teams no longer want the maximum downforce available. Perhaps this is where Haas’s inexperience in the series is showing? Getting the brake ducts right doesn’t just alter the brake temperature, it also affects the downforce and drag produced.

Salvu Borg

Haas were not the only team to have hit brake problems, Mercedes before them had their share of brake problems. Some drivers seems to have a preference for a certain make of brakes, while some seems to make do with what the teams gives them. Mercedes is the only team I know of that ran car number 6 with different brake makes front and rear. As regards at least Brembo disc material is the same for all teams supplied by Brembo. Forcing air through the ducts for cooling the brakes, the amount of air is controlled by using different size… Read more »


You’d have to say that if Haas are finessing their brake cooling and aero to such an extent that it’s leading to loss of confidence for the driver and accidents, then they need to strap on those big ducts and accept the loss in top end speed.


If he brakes are too cool (below 400°C) then they won’t work effectively. That is why all the teams shroud the discs in a drum, to keep the brakes from over cooling. On Friday there was a lot of carbon dust coming from the front of the Haas under braking. This happens when the brakes get too hot and the disc and pad is consumed at a high rate (common in Canada with its High braking requirements) it is unusual to see this on short runs. The issues Grosjean has being complaining about, no feel and the brakes grabbing inconsistently,… Read more »


Thanks Dave, keeping the brakes in their effective window (hot and cold) is a challenge, I was being a bit flippant.
I understand there is lots of other clever stuff they do with the heat from the brakes to heat wheels and tyres, plus effect the aero, so its tricky stuff.
It does seem that the other teams and drivers are well on top of their brake systems. With all the help Haas have access to from Ferrari and Carbon Industries (possibly also Brembo), it seems odd that Haas are still struggling to find consistency and performance.


How long can Haas continue to not solve this problem before they earn the reputation as being the Honda of brake setups? Their entire braking system was based on Ferrari’s so it can’t be that far off.

Salvu Borg

Haas still struggling with brake problems in between using two different makes of brakes and next year we will add Sauber trying to get to grips with a HONDA POWER UNIT.

Salvu Borg

The latest information says that Grosjean said his struggles during qualifying for Russian GP were not brake-related, stating “the car wasn’t doing anything I wanted”.
Haas started the Sochi weekend with Carbon Industrie brakes after a successful test in Bahrain, but faced issues in practice and reverted to Brembo for Saturday’s running.